Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has insisted that his latest injury setback is only minor but admits that it places his participation in the World Cup in doubt.
Essien has not played for Chelsea since December and aggravated the problem in training for Ghana during January's African Nations Cup.
Chelsea issued a statement on Tuesday saying the midfielder would miss the rest of the season due to swelling in his knee, and this latest setback has now placed his World Cup hopes in the balance.
"It looks unlikely I will play again for Chelsea this season," Essien is quoted as saying in the Sun. "I started running last week but had to stop because of pain in my leg. It is a minor setback but one I could do without.
"If I can make it to the World Cup, I will. If I cannot then I will have to sit at home and support the team. It will be disappointing to miss out but the World Cup is the best tournament in the world and I'd rather be there fully fit."
The Ghana Football Association feels Essien is vital to the team's hopes in South Africa.
"It is unfortunate that he should be having such difficulties recovering from the injury but we are hoping that with time he will be ready for the World Cup," GFA emergency committee member Fred Crentsil told TV3 Network. "We really believe with him in the side the team can reach very far."