Earlier this week, the David Luiz exit rumors were already turned up to eleven, or at least ten and a half, with Transfer Oracles prognosticating about a potential switch to Real Madrid in the winter transfer window after the 30-year-old was suddenly ruled out with a mysterious and, from certain angles, a rather coincidental knee injury just weeks after his place in the starting lineup was taken over by young Andreas Christensen.
Conte’s vagueness about the injury didn’t help, nor did the history of both parties — David Luiz usually moving quickly once he realizes he’s no longer first choice; Conte having no qualms about axing established stars who might not always conform — or the timing: Chelsea could maximize re-sale value in January.
After Wednesday’s game however, Conte put the brakes on this runaway train, or at least attempted to.
“It is very difficult [to provide an update]. He has liquid in his knee and we have to assess his recovery.
“I hope I don’t lose him for a long time, because we have to play every three days and I need all my players.”
-Antonio Conte; source: West London Sport
Water on the knee (too much liquid in the joint) is usually a stress or overuse-induced injury and each case tends to be different. In the most severe cases, surgery can be an option, though the pain and the condition can usually be managed without such drastic measures. Given the nature of the ailment, it is indeed unsurprising that Conte cannot really say how long David Luiz might be out — could be days, weeks, months; it all depends on how the knee responds to treatment.
Either way, Conte’s second sentence makes it clear that if we do lose David Luiz (to either injury or transfer), we’re going to need a replacement.