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Kovačić back but Gilmour out for four months after knee surgery

Fitness updates ahead of Saturday’s game

Crystal Palace v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Ahead of a crucial game against Sheffield United, who are still in the top-six chase as well, we have some bad news. As confirmed by Frank Lampard in today’s pre-match press conference, young Billy Gilmour has undergone knee surgery, and will now be out for 3-4 months.

Gilmour was seen limping in the second half of Tuesday’s game after receiving a heavy challenge. The injury didn't seem very serious at the time, but it’s turned out to be one after all. Big injuries are never easy, but Lampard’s confident that Gilmour’s attitude, which we see on display every time he plays on such a big stage at such a young age, will help him pull through.

"Billy Gilmour has had an operation on his knee this morning. Unfortunately we estimate he will be out for somewhere between three and four months. I am obviously very disappointed as we all are here, and Billy is himself. I spoke with him yesterday at length and just gave him support, being there for him.

"He is a tough boy, it has hit him hard, I get that particularly as a younger player who has just made a breakthrough in recent times and was doing so well, but it is part of football and I tried to explain to him he should be very pleased with what he has done, the impact he has had this season anyway.

"Part of our job as players is to get on with things, he will learn that very quickly, and his attitude will get him back as quick as he possibly can."

Gilmour just turned 19 last month, but has made 11 appearances (6 starts) this season, including 6 in the Premier League (2 starts). He started on Tuesday ahead of the vastly more experience Jorginho — it was his sixth appearance in our last eight games, making the injury particularly unfortunate.

The small silver lining is that the recovery period will cover the upcoming brief off-season and pre-season before the 2020-21 season starts in September, but it’s obviously still a big blow.

Gilmour will have everyone’s support as he starts his rehab, and hopefully that will see him make a quick and complete recovery.

"Particularly with his age and the personality that he has shown in and around the first team squad, getting himself into the team, I am very sure he will show the same character getting over the injury.

"He will do everything right, he will put in the work and the rehab and mentally he’ll tackle it. He has a close-knit family around him and will be there for him, and we are his family too and we will be there for him, and the small bonus is hopefully it will cover a period which is off-season and maybe pre-season, so hopefully he is not missing as many games as he might have done"

As far as other injury news, Lampard gave an encouraging update on Mateo Kovačić, who had missed the last two games, but N’Golo Kanté and Fikayo Tomori remain out.

“Kante is not fit, Kovacic is back in the squad so he is fit. Fikayo Tomori is bordering on fit but he is not in this squad.”

-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC

Here's wishing Gilmour a very fast recovery so that he can continue to embark on his path towards excellence.

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