Antonio Conte has revealed that it may be a while before David Luiz is back in the Chelsea team after the defender picked up a knee injury in training.
The Brazil international was not part of the Blues' squad during the 1-0 home victory over Swansea City on Wednesday, and some fans may have thought that Luiz had had another falling out with Conte as a result.
However, the Italian was quoted by football.london as he explained why the centre-back had not been able to be part of his first-team plans at Stamford Bridge against the Swans.
Conte said: "Now it's very difficult, because he had the liquid in his knee. We have to assess his recovery, the time.
"But I hope to not lose him for a lot of time also because we have to play every three days and I need all my players."
Conte opted to ring the changes for the visit of Paul Clement's men as he rested the likes of Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta - the duo being replaced in the starting lineup by Antonio Rudiger and Pedro.
The 45-year-old refused to comment on why the pair had been benched for the clash with Swansea, but it is believed that the forward and defender weren't dropped and were merely being rested ahead of a tough run of fixtures heading into the festive period.
Chelsea face nine matches throughout December as they fight on three fronts ahead of the New Year - seven games of which come in the Premier League during the notoriously gruelling Christmas schedule.
The reigning champions also face Atletico Madrid in their final Champions League group match of the season, and also take on Bournemouth in the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup on 19th December.
With so many matches to come, it's no surprise to see Conte keep some of his star men fresh for the bouts to come.