Thibaut Courtois was injured while filming a promotional basketball shoot for Chelsea which ruled him out of their vital Premier League match away to Manchester United.
The goalkeeper’s ankle injury also means he is believed to be a doubt for this Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley against Tottenham Hotspur.
There was no official confirmation from Chelsea as to how the Belgium international collected his injury but it is understood he was playing basketball last Tuesday at the club’s training ground with a number of other players.
The basketball was organised by the club and was filmed as part of their commercial duties with the NBA. Courtois, who was taking part along with team-mates including Asmir Begovic – who replaced him against United – Nemanja Matic, Marcos Alonso and Nathan Ake, landed awkwardly after he jumped to catch a basketball.
Manager Antonio Conte did not confirm how the injury occurred, adding: “I think after a defeat it’s not right to go into this situation. Courtois had an injury during the week and then for this reason he wasn’t available.”
Alonso also missed the match, having to withdraw in the warm-up despite being named in the team, as he felt the effects of a virus.
“Alonso had a virus during the night and we tried to recover him for the game,” Conte said.
The nature of Courtois’s injury, although freakish and an accident, will raise questions as to why the players are being asked to take part in commercial activities during such a key stage of the campaign. Courtois is a basketball fan and was spotted, along with other players, at the NBA game hosted at the O2 Arena earlier this year, between Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors.