Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana may reportedly be able to return to competitive action as soon as the middle of January.
Since joining the Blues from Leicester City for £70m in August, Fofana has been restricted to just four starts in all competitions.
His two outings in the Premier League came during victories over West Ham United and Crystal Palace, the latter of which was played on October 1.
However, a knee ligament injury sustained during the meeting with AC Milan four days later has prevented the France international from building on his opening appearances.
Having been unable to return to action before the World Cup, the 22-year-old ultimately missed out on representing his country in Qatar.
On a positive note, Fofana has been able to be patient in his recovery, proving himself in training to participate in a behind-closed-doors friendly versus Brentford on Tuesday.
Things did not go to plan, however, as Fofana was forced to be withdrawn, the centre-back said to be visibly upset as he made his way from the pitch.
Naturally, there was concern that Fofana faced another lengthy period on the sidelines, with teammate Reece James taking to Instagram to wish his teammate well in his recovery.
However, Fofana insisted on Tuesday that he would be sidelined for no longer than a month, and that is a claim which has since been backed up elsewhere.
Romano adds that that Fofana 'did not suffer a serious injury', it being suggested elsewhere that Fofana had suffered a recurrence of a stretched knee ligament.
Even if Fofana is able to return in a month, he is likely to miss as many as seven matches in all competitions, including two fixtures versus Manchester City.
Chelsea are also scheduled to make the trip to Liverpool on January 21, a showdown which may be deemed too high-profile for Fofana to make his first competitive appearance in almost four months.