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Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010

Chelsea loses Cole for three months due to broken ankle

LONDON (AP) Chelsea's Ashley Cole broke his left ankle and will be out of action for three months, causing the defender to miss most of the rest of the season though he should be back in time for the World Cup.

News photo
Painful play: Chelsea's Ashley Cole (right) suffers a broken left ankle on this play against Everton's Landon Donovan on Wednesday night at Goodison Park. AP PHOTO

The England left-back was injured in a challenge by Everton's Landon Donovan in Wednesday's Premier League game, which Chelsea lost 2-1.

Although Chelsea did not suggest that United States international Donovan had fouled Cole — who will be his opponent again at the World Cup in June — coach Ray Wilkins said after the game it was a strong challenge made while the left-back was off balance.

The club announced on Thursday that a scan revealed the full extent of the injury and Cole was expected to be out of action for approximately three months.

"We are very disappointed because he's a very important player for us," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "Now we have to do our best to get him recovered quickly, although we have Yury (Zhirkov) who is a fantastic fullback, so we can use him."

Wednesday's defeat cut Chelsea's lead over Manchester United at the top of the Premier League to one point and Cole will miss most of his team's matches both domestically and in the Champions League.

If the club's initial prognosis is accurate, however, he should be back before the season ends and that gives him time to join up with the England squad headed for South Africa.

England will face the United States at the World Cup on June 12 in Rustenburg and Cole will hope to play in that game, where he will face Donovan again.

Asked about Cole's World Cup prospects, Ancelotti said: "I don't know — I hope so for him and for the England team."

Cole's injury might also result in a new twist to the John Terry story.

England coach Fabio Capello took the captaincy away from Terry last Friday amid widespread publicity over allegations that the married Chelsea player had an affair with the former girlfriend of England teammate Wayne Bridge.

Bridge is Cole's regular backup on the England squad and Capello might well call up the Manchester City left-back to play alongside Terry in the friendly against Egypt on March 3.

Giggs breaks arm

MANCHESTER , England (AP) Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs will be out for up to four weeks after fracturing his right arm during Wednesday night's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Giggs suffered the injury when he collided with Villa substitute Steve Sidwell. An X-ray confirmed the fracture, United said in a statement Thursday.

The injury means that Giggs will miss the first leg of United's Champions League match at AC Milan on Tuesday, but manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he hopes to have Giggs back for the return leg on March 10.

The 36-year-old midfielder will also miss the League Cup final against Villa on Feb. 28.

Giggs will miss three Premier League games, against Everton, West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

United is currently just one point behind league leader Chelsea.



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