Chelsea have confirmed media reports from earlier today that Ben Chilwell will have surgery to repair his ACL after a “conservative rehab approach” did not provide the hoped for results.
For anyone’s who’s ever had or has paid attention to ACL injuries, this is unfortunately the expected outcome of this initial rehab attempt. Knee ligaments have very poor blood supply and therefore cannot usually heal on their own — thus needing repair (and replacement) through surgery, taking one of the patient’s own hamstring, quadricep, or patellar tendons and grafting that in its place. (Can also use a cadaver, but that’s less common in professional sports applications.)
Obviously this is a most unfortunate outcome for Chilwell and Chelsea, but now that we’ve made out peace with the decision, Chilly can concentrate on his rehab and we can concentrate on figuring out how to replace him for the second half of the season — and beyond, since we should expect at least 12 months but perhaps as long as 24 months (see: Kurt Zouma) for him to get back to where he was before (barring any Rüdiger-esque miracle recovery).
Soon after the initial injury, we looked at potential replacement options, including recalling Ian Maatsen (not very likely) or Emerson (unlikely), while recently we’ve been linked with Lucas Digne (loan maybe?) and Sergiño Dest (transfer?) as well. Nothing immediately obvious stands out however, so a solution may yet arrive from outside those options — especially as Alonso has been rather underwhelming over the past month.
Get well soon, Chilly B!