John Terry will not have to endure a lengthy injury lay-off after Chelsea confirmed last night he had suffered "no significant damage" to his knee ligaments in their Premier League draw with Liverpool on Sunday.
The European champions announced captain Terry would be sidelined for "weeks rather than months" following an MRI scan on the injury that forced him off during the game at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea said in a statement on their website: "Today's MRI scans on John Terry's right knee thankfully show no significant damage to the cruciate ligaments.
"Chelsea Football Club's medical team will conduct further tests over the next two or three days once the swelling has subsided to determine how long John will be out."
Any absence is a significant blow for the Blues, with Terry having suffered the injury in his first game back after his domestic four-match racism ban.
The club had struggled badly in defence in his absence, slipping from first to third in the table.
He almost certainly will miss their potentially decisive Champions League Group E game at Juventus, as well as crucial league matches away to West Bromwich Albion and home against Manchester City.
He could even be a doubt for their Club World Cup trip to Japan early next month.
Petr Cech, who has been Chelsea's captain in the absence of Terry and Frank Lampard, was confident that losing the defender for another extended spell would not derail their season.
The goalkeeper said: "We managed to play games without him and we have players who will have a chance to impress.
"I have confidence. Obviously, it's a pity we will lose him again but we have a large squad and quality defenders to deal with that. It's important to have people who can step up. This is a chance for the others to shine and we are going to deal with his loss for him."
Terry has demonstrated supreme powers of recovery in the past, coming back from minor surgery on the same knee weeks ahead of schedule last season.
Cech added: "He knows what it takes to come back in good shape and as soon as possible. He always heals well."
Terry went down 10 minutes before half time, having given his side the lead, following an accidental collision with the striker Luis Suarez.
He was carried off on a stretcher and left Stamford Bridge in a knee brace, sparking fears of a long-term absence.
His departure left Chelsea down to two fit centre-backs, in Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, with David Luiz sidelined by tonsilitis.