Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard was forced to leave the team's Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk in the first half due to a calf strain. Rob Burnett of the Daily Mirror reports the injury will sideline him for at least two weeks.
Lampard has been a key piece of the Blues' midfield for more than a decade. Since joining the club in 2001, he's scored 189 goals and chipped in 120 assists in nearly 600 appearances. Losing him will force manager Roberto Di Matteo to shake things up a bit.
The injury comes at a terrible time for Chelsea, which has a packed schedule over the next few weeks, starting with two clashes in four days against Manchester United, the first of which will take place on Sunday.
Based on the two-week timetable, Lampard will also miss a league clash with Swansea City. The earliest potential return date would be for the rematch with Shakhtar Donetsk on Nov. 7, but that would be right up against the two-week mark.
A meeting with Liverpool four days later seems like a more realistic option, if everything goes according to plan with his recovery process. Calf strains tend to linger, especially for midfielders who are constantly on the move like Lampard.
Even though his role within the Chelsea lineup has been changing frequently this season, not having him available limits Di Matteo's options. It's a problem no manager wants to deal with when a team is entering a condensed group of matches.
While Lampard is sidelined there will be added pressure on Eden Hazard and Juan Mata to create offensive chances, something they have both done at a very high rate this season. The spotlight will just be a little brighter now.
Oscar, who scored the team's only goal in the Shakhtar Donetsk loss but hasn't found the net in Premier League play during the current campaign, will also be asked to step up on the attack until Lampard returns.
Keep checking back for the latest information on Lampard's status.
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