Chelsea star Reece James may be set for another significant spell on the sidelines after going off injured in the Blues’ Premier League clash with Bournemouth. Just eight minutes into the second half, James signalled to the bench that he needed to come off before going down in some discomfort.
The 23-year-old has spent the last few months on the treatment table after suffering a knee injury vs AC Milan and he could be set for more time out, with Cesar Azpilicueta replacing the blistering wing-back, who appeared to be in tears as he headed down the tunnel.
Ahead of the game, Potter confirmed that James would need to “build up his minutes” after missing 10 weeks of action following knee surgery to repair the damage. “The plan is to try to help him build up his minutes, and the next challenge is to build him up in the Premier League which is not the ideal place to do it,” Potter revealed.
He’s got the capacity to do that, but we just need to be clear and careful with the minutes that he plays. I’m confident the more he plays the more we’ll see what a fantastic player he is.”
Potter also spoke to Amazon Prime Video ahead of the game on the plan for James now that his starting spot had been confirmed. “It’s good to have him back,” he said. “He’s been building up his time so probably won’t get 90 minutes today but it’s nice to have him from the start.”
Chelsea looked rejuvenated with James back in his familiar spot on the right of the back four, with both goals in the opening 30 minutes coming down his side. Raheem Sterling was played in behind the Bournemouth back line before crossing for Kai Havertz to open the scoring in the 16th minute.
Mason Mount then doubled Chelsea’s lead eight minutes later after receiving Havertz’s pass on the edge of the box before calmly guiding the ball beyond Mark Travers.
The 23-year-old nearly added his name to the scoresheet as the game edged closer to the half-time whistle but his effort from close-range was palmed clear by Travers. However, just a few minutes into the second half against the Cherries, James went down in some discomfort off the ball.
Immediately there was concern as James had his head buried in his hands seemingly in tears. He was able to walk off the pitch without much assistance but his swift departure down the tunnel may indicate he could be faced with another significant injury.
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