Sergio Aguero's high tackle in the feisty title clash between Manchester City and Chelsea in December earned him a four-match ban. But, for David Luiz, the effects have been long-lasting and he has played through the pain barrier ever since.
The tackle sparked unsavoury scenes in Chelsea's 3-1 win at the Etihad, with Aguero's lunge causing a mass of shoving and pushing that led to Fernandinho also seeing red, while Nathaniel Chalobah and Cesc Fabregas were also heavily involved.
Chelsea will now welcome Manchester City for thereturn match at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with Aguero likely to face off against Luiz once again.
However, despite his regular appearances since the first meeting, Luiz is not expected to fully recover until next season and will need to continue playing through the pain.
His importance to the team has meant Antonio Conte has had to use him with his knee strapped up, while Chelsea's medical staff keep the injury monitored. Despite the pain, Luiz isn't going to need surgeryand he has worked on his own with a physical coach.
Here's how Luiz has dealt through the injuries through the words of the defender and his manager since the challenge.
CONTE ON DECEMBER 9, 2016
"I have to check tomorrow if David Luiz is able to play on Sunday [against West Brom] because, after this tackle ... this tackle was very bad," Conte revealed after the Man City match.
"I have to check on his recovery from his injury. Tomorrow will be very important for him and for me to decide whether he's able to play. That tackle was dangerous, for sure. I watched the images and I was afraid [he might be injured]. I was scared."Full story here.
CONTE ON JANUARY 3, 2017
"David is playing in this situation [with pain]after the game against Manchester City," Conte said before they clashed with title rivals Tottenham at the turn of the year.
"Now, I think he's improving. Now he's getting better, his physical condition and his pain is improving a lot." Full story here.
DAVID LUIZ ON FEBRUARY 1, 2017
“Sometimes you need to try the surprise," David Luiz said at the start of February."I’m not in the best position to take free kicks because my knee is hurting and I can’t train every day, but in a game you need to see the opportunity.
"I feel tired. It's never easy to win points here. We had opportunity to win the game."Full story here.
CONTE ON FEBRUARY 10, 2017
“Yes [everybody is fit to face Burnley], Luizis available,” Conte said before Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Burnley. “He played and he is fit, he is good. For sure, he is playing with a little pain in his knee, but he is a warrior.
“I think he is playing very well and I am pleased for him, but I hope to continue in this way. For sure, he is showing me great attitude, great will to continue to fight despite sometimes having a bit of pain.” Full story here.
CONTE AHEAD ON FEBRUARY 17, 2017
"All the players are available but there are situations which are better to keep under control," Contesaid ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup win over Wolves."Marcos Alonsoneeds a bit of rest, and withDavid Luizwe have an opportunity to give him a full week to recover well.
"His knee is okay, it’s improved a lot since the game at Man City, it’s important to keep the situation under control. He’s doing training sessions with the physical coach." Full story here.
DAVID LUIZ ON MARCH 13, 2017
"The international break gives me a good chance to rest my knee, it is a very good thing for me," David Luiz said after Chelsea beat Man Utd.
"Only I feel the pain so nobody knows [how hard it has been to cope with]. I won't need an operation in the summer. But it is very good for me to rest, not just the knee, but the body as well."Full story here.
ANTONIO CONTE ON APRIL 4, 2017
“I think, now, his knee is better than before, yes. But, for sure, he needs to have treatment and continue to have good treatment to his knee.”
“It's not important [the situation between Luiz and Aguero]. I repeat, we must understand that, when there is a game and, above all, if someone is losing the game, it can happen, this type of situation. I have great respect for Aguero. He's a really good player.”