Chelsea defender David Luiz will not require summer surgery despite ongoing knee trouble

George Flood
Antonio Conte

Chelsea fans will be relieved to learn that David Luiz does not feel he needs to go under the knife this summer in order to correct a lingering knee problem.

The maverick Brazilian centre-back, who returned to Stamford Bridge last summer in a shock £34m ($42.1m) deadline-day deal after two years with Paris Saint-Germain, has been dealing with persistent pain in his right knee ever since falling victim to a wild lunge from Sergio Aguero during a fiery climax to Chelsea's 3-1 Premier League victory at Manchester City in early December 2016.

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While such an issue has not forced him to miss any game-time, Luiz, a crucial cog in Antonio Conte's three-man defensive system alongside Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta, was unable to shake it off straightaway and confirmed after scoring a stunning free-kick in January's 1-1 draw at Liverpool that he could not train every day.

Conte later praised Luiz's attitude and labelled him a "warrior" for playing through the pain barrier. The 29-year-old previously wore heavy strapping on the affected area and provoked fears over a potential layoff last month when, having been seen noticeably limping during a meeting with Burnley, he posted a picture of himself on Instagram in a hospital gown alongside an emoji needle and the caption "Let's do it".

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Speaking to the Evening Standard after dominant leaders Chelsea took another giant step towards their sixth top-flight title thanks to Cahill's dramatic late winner in a highly-physical affair against Stoke City, Luiz, disappointed to be omitted from Tite's latest Brazil squad for upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Paraguay, confirmed that he would not require surgery.

"The international break gives me a good chance to rest my knee," he said. "It's a very good thing for me. Only I feel the pain so nobody knows [how hard it's been to cope with]. But we have amazing medical staff and they have been great with me.

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"Every single match, every single player, they are there for every player. They have helped me a lot. I won't need an operation in the summer. But it's very good for me to rest, not just the knee, but the body as well."

While Luiz played the full 90 minutes of that 2-1 success at Stoke, Eden Hazard did not travel to the bet365 Stadium due to a muscle injury sustained in training. The influential playmaker, subjected to some rough treatment during an FA Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester United last week, is now said to have withdrawn from Belgium duty ahead of a double-header against Greece and Russia.

"In the last training he felt a bit of a problem in his calf, for this reason I decided not to risk him," Conte explained on Saturday. "That is why he didn't play today."

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