James, Fernandez, Chilwell - Chelsea injury news and return dates for Brighton clash

Reece James of Chelsea celebrates with the fans at full-time following his side's 2-3 victory during the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Chelsea FC at City Ground on May 11, 2024 in Nottingham, England.
Chelsea captain Reece James returned from injury with a bang against Nottingham Forest -Credit:(Photo by Copa/Getty Images)

Mauricio Pochettino finally saw the positives of having two key players back from injury in the 3-2 win against Nottingham Forest. The Blues pulled off an impressive second-half comeback at the City Ground after former star Callum Hudson-Odoi put his new club in front.

Following his delightful strike, Pochettino rang the changes with Raheem Sterling and Reece James both returning from injury. After a few minutes, Sterling equalised with James then later turning provider for Nicolas Jackson to score the game's winning goal.

Sterling was back in the matchday squad last weekend but did not feature after missing a short period with a back issue. James meanwhile, had not played since December with another serious hamstring injury striking him in the defeat to Everton last year.

Despite that double boost, Pochettino still has a number of big injury absentees with it unlikely any return before Wednesday's clash against Brighton. With that in mind, has rounded up all the players missing through injury along with their potential return date.

Reece James

James featured off the bench against Nottingham Forest and picked up a delightful assist in his 11-minute cameo.

Injury: Hamstring.

READ MORE: Mauricio Pochettino sacked, new Chelsea contract offer - Final manager verdict after job admission

READ MORE: How Chelsea can qualify for Europa League after Nottingham Forest win

What Pochettino has said: "Massive. It's unlucky there are only two games ahead and it's one week. It is important for him to recover for his feelings and he is such an important player for us. He is our captain. We all love him. Yes, important, and to see whether he will be fit and have a chance of making the Euros."

"We have one more week to work. He is doing well in the training sessions. After four or five months, he's not the same to train and compete but if he has the possibility to do that in the next two games, and if his coach in the national team believes he can cope with the competition, I think he will be ready."

Possible return date: Returned.

Carney Chukwuemeka

Chukwuemeka is currently undergoing a rehabilitation programme. After enjoying a great start to the campaign, the 20-year-old midfielder has sadly been riddled with injuries and setbacks.

Injury: Knee.

What Pochettino has said: "Carney feels something in his knee. Related to his problem before. Hopefully it's not a big issue and they can be available as soon as possible because now we are going to lose two players who were there and thinking [they] can help the team."

Possible return date: Unknown.

Enzo Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing groin surgery. The 23-year-old midfielder has recently begun a rehabilitation programme at Cobham training ground.

Taking to Instagram ahead of Chelsea's clash against West Ham, Fernandez posted a picture of himself completing an exercise with a pair of dumbbells. Remaining coy on his rehabilitation, he reduced the caption to a couple of emojis – an hourglass and a white heart.

Injury: Groin.

What Pochettino has said: "At the moment he feels the pain and he feels the limitations because of the problem. The most important thing is to fix the problem for him. If he does not feel well, he cannot perform because of the situation, it's not good for him, the team or the club."

Possible return date: Summer.

Ben Chilwell

Chilwell was absent from the matchday squad against West Ham. He's also 'continuing to undergo his rehabilitation programme'.

Injury: Unknown.

What Pochettino has said: "Chilly, also, after the national team – it's the same problem he suffered in the last few weeks."

Possible return date: Unknown.

Robert Sanchez

Sanchez has been out of the side for a while now, with Marcus Bettinelli stepping into the number two role. The Spaniard shot-stopper is back in partial team training.

Injury: Unknown.

Possible return date: Unknown.

Lesley Ugochukwu

Ugochukwu has recently returned to first-team training after four months out. The 20-year-old midfielder's last appearance came on Christmas Eve.

Injury: Unknown.

Possible return date: Unknown.

Romeo Lavia

Lavia is 'continuing to undergo his rehabilitation programme'. The 20-year-old midfielder has featured just once for Chelsea this season, having struggled to stay match-fit and escape injury.

Injury: Thigh.

Possible return date: Next season.

Wesley Fofana

Fofana hasn't featured once this season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament. The 23-year-old defender has recently returned to training on the pitches at Cobham, though he's considered to be a long way from returning to first-team action.

Injury : ACL.

What Pochettino has said: "Unfortunately, I think it is difficult to see Wes playing this season, but you never know."

Possible return date: Next season.