Chelsea's usual England contingent hasn't exactly been making a mark on the country's Euro 2012 qualifiers. While Ashley Cole has been ever-present in the lineup for the Three Lions*, Frank Lampard and John Terry have yet to feature in a competitive match since the debacle in South Africa. Lampard didn't even travel with the team in this round of qualifiers, but Terry was expected to feature, only to be withdraw at the last minute with a back injury, joining Phil Jagielka and Aaron Lennon in dropping out of the side ahead of the game against Montenegro.
Many of you will remember that this isn't Terry's first bout of back issues - he underwent surgery for a similar problem several years ago, which saw the removal of a 'sequestrated intervertebral disc,' an affliction that sounds fairly painful. Hopefully it won't go that far again, but things don't look great. Terry is reknowned for playing through minor knocks and niggles, so being ruled out of a match means that the England physios are either being hyper-cautious or that he's really hurting. With Alex also out for a few weeks, Chelsea really can't afford to lose Terry for any length of time either.
Even if he can still play on Saturday, it's pretty hard to paint this as anything but extremely worrying news.
*NB: If there are 11 players making up 3 lions, each player is approximately 0.273 lions. According to Wikipedia, male lions can weigh as much as 550 pounds - it would then follow that the average England player would then weigh 150 pounds if the 'three lions' were especially fierce ones. One suspects that the average England player weighs well over 11 stone, meaning that the FA is, in a move typical of the English, underselling the team's strength in equivalent lion masses. English self-hatred strikes again!