By Ben Dinnery

8th Jan, 2022 | 11:47am

Medical expert names Chilwell comeback date after crushing Chelsea update

Chelsea star Ben Chilwell will be targeting a return to play in pre-season ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

So says injury expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in medicine and data analysis.

Chilwell has been sidelined with an anterior cruciate ligament tear since Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Juventus on 23 November (2021).

There was cautious optimism that his setback was not season-ending after he was seen in light fitness work at Cobham, as relayed by on 14 December.

But the 25-year-old left-back underwent knee surgery towards the end of December.

Thomas Tuchel has now suggested that the 17-cap England man will not play again this term, per Chelsea’s media team last Friday (31 December).

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Dinnery suggests that Chilwell will now set his sights on returning ahead of next season.

“That first four to six weeks was always going to be important,” he told Football Insider‘s Adam Williams.

“It was an opportunity to see how Chilwell responded to conservative treatment.

“Ordinarily, you tend to get good results when it’s a smaller, partial tear of the ACL. But this wasn’t progressing as hoped.

“People saw that he was pictured in light training and assumed he was bang on track, but ultimately this decision has been made.

“We can rule out any major secondary ligament damage or structural damage. This can be isolated to the ACL.

“Fingers crossed we’re looking at a fairly straightforward surgery. There are never any guarantees when it comes to these sorts of injuries.

“Average return to play timeline is between 270 and 280 days. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s closer to six or seven months.

“He’ll be targetting a return to pre-season so he can get some minutes in before the new season kicks off.

“But I would add that chances of re-injury are significantly increased when you return to play within that nine-month period.”

Marcos Alonso has played at left wing-back during Chilwell’s absence.

Tuchel has admitted Chelsea are looking at cover in the role this January, as quoted by Sky Sports yesterday (7 January).

In other news, Romelu Lukaku accused of being “overweight” by Thomas Tuchel behind the scenes.