Michael Essien To Learn Knee Injury Fate

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien will learn on Friday how long the knee injury he suffered at the Africa Cup of Nations will keep him out for. The 27-year-old Ghanaian was forced out of the tournament after hurting his knee in training on Sunday. Essien arrives back at Chelsea's Cobham training ground on Thursday where he will be further assessed. "We will fully assess the injury on Michael's return to us later this week," said a Chelsea spokesperson. Essien could be out of action for at least a month according to initial scans undertaken in Luanda, Angola. They are understood to show that he has suffered a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee and damage to his meniscus. If his injury is as bad as first feared, then Essien is likely to miss Chelsea's Premier League clash against title rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on 7 February and the opening leg of their Champions League tie against Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan on 24 February. Essien has only just returned to training on 6 January, having not played since tearing his hamstring while on Champions League duty with his club in early December. The midfielder watched Ghana beat 10-man Burkina Faso 1-0 on Tuesday to advance to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals before returning to London.