Crystal Palace defender Gary Cahill is set to miss the remainder of the season manager Roy Hodgson confirmed on the club website.
The 34 year old picked up a hamstring injury at Selhurst Park on Tuesday night when Palace hosted Chelsea.
Blues winger Willian raced clear in the sixth minute and Cahill, who was chasing him, pulled up with a hamstring problem which allowed the Brazilian to drive further and square to Olivier Giroud for the opener.
The former English international hobbled off the pitch soon after and was replaced by Mamadou Sakho.
Hodgson confirmed that Cahill will undergo tests and be assessed further on Wednesday but he doesn’t expect him to feature again this season given the few games remaining.
“It’s a hamstring injury,” Hodgson said. “He’s obviously felt his hamstring give way. He’ll obviously be assessed and receive a scan but I’ll be very surprised if there isn’t a tear in the muscle.
“I’d be even more surprised with such a short period of time to play this season if he gets back to be a part of the four matches remaining.”
The Eagles have had injury problems throughout the season and there seems to be no relief in sight.
Speaking of the goal following the injury, Hodgson believed it would have been too much to ask of Chelsea to have stopped play at that point of time.
“It would have been asking a lot I think [for Chelsea to stop play]. People react instinctively – you find yourself behind the defence in a really good position to create a goal chance, you carry on and take it.
“I think it would be unrealistic for me to suggest they [Willian] should suddenly put their foot on the ball and stop and run straight to Gary and see how he is. That’s not the way football is. It certainly was a very unfortunate incident that happened so early in the game and in the end it cost us a point – because that was the goal they won by. They won by one goal, and that was it.”
Chelsea claimed a crucial three points in the race for top four in an entertaining encounter that ended 3-2 in their favour.
Hodgson would nevertheless have been encouraged by the performance and the Eagles were unlucky not to have found a late equaliser with Scott Dann hitting the post and Kurt Zouma denying Christian Benteke with an exceptional sliding tackle in injury time.
Palace lie in 14th place with 42 points and have a trip to Aston Villa up next on Sunday.
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