Chelsea has been hit with a brutal blow to star right-back Reece James, who exited the Blues’ 2-0 win against Bournemouth on Tuesday due to an apparent injury. James was forced to exit the match in the 53rd minute after coming up lame with a knee injury. After an early exit during what was a coveted return to Chelsea and Graham Potter’s starting XI, James could be facing another lengthy absence through injury.

Chelsea’s superstar defenseman took to Instagram with some words of encouragement and a heartfelt message to the club’s supporters.


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A post shared by Reece James (@reecejames)

In his Instagram post, James thanked the loyal Chelsea fans for their support throughout his rehabbing process. James admitted that the injuries have had an impact on his mental, but he’s going to fight hard to get back into the team, signing off with a somewhat cryptic, “See you next year.”

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James, of course, was expected to be a key cog for England at the World Cup, but an injury to the same knee had kept him sidelined since October. He was not able to join his compatriots in Qatar for soccer’s biggest tournament, and now after half a game back with Chelsea, James could once again be staring at a long stint on the sideline and a difficult rehab.

The precise severity of his injury is unclear, and Chelsea is hoping to get a positive update on the 23-year-old’s status within the next 24-48 hours.

Injuries have limited James to just eight Premier League appearances this year, through which he has tallied one goal and one assist. He featured 26 times in league games for Chelsea last season, starting 22, and scoring five goals with nine assists in what was a sensational campaign.