Chelsea suffered a potentially serious setback on Monday in their attempt to secure a top-four Premier League finish when Petr Cech withdrew from the Czech Republic squad with a broken little finger.
Although Cech suffered the injury during Chelsea's 3-2 defeat against Newcastle on Saturday, the full extent of the damage was not immediately clear and he reported for international duty yesterday.
Cech will now return to Chelsea today when he will be further assessed by medics at the club's Cobham training base. With Thibaut Courtois on loan for the season at Atletico Madrid, manager Rafael Benitez will face a difficult choice between Ross Turnbull and Henrique Hilario if Cech is absent for a significant time.
Cech was able to complete the full 90 minutes against Newcastle despite his injury but, at the very least he is now a serious doubt for Saturday's match against Wigan.
Turnbull would be the expected replacement but he looked nervous and lacked authority when Cech recently missed successive 2-2 draws against League One Brentford and then Reading. The 28-year-old also played in the 2-0 home defeat against Swansea City in the Capital One Cup semi-final last month. Hilario is now 37 and has not played since Aug 27 2011.
Saturday's match against Wigan has taken on huge significance for Benitez's future, with Chelsea having won just three out of their last 10 matches.
Meanwhile Loic Remy, the Queens Parks Rangers striker, is hoping to return before the end of the month despite fears that he would be out for eight weeks with the groin injury he sustained during training on Friday morning.
In what would be a major boost to QPR's survival hopes, there is a belief that the France international could still play a part in the pivotal relegation battles against Southampton and Aston Villa, on Mar 2 and 16.
QPR have offered no further information on Remy's injury since some mixed messages on Saturday when manager Harry Redknapp said that he had torn his groin and assistant manager Joe Jordan described the injury as a "slight strain".
It is understood that Remy was walking unaided and without significant discomfort yesterday. Further scans are expected this week. Remy was a club-record signing when he arrived at QPR for 8 million pounds last month, with Redknapp hoping that he would score the goals to inspire an unlikely escape from relegation.
Remy's injury occurred during the last minute of training on Friday as he kicked a ball and for the immediate future, Redknapp must decide between Bobby Zamora, Jamie Mackie and Jay Bothroyd in the centre-forward positions, with Adel Taarabt another option to play in a more central attacking position.
Redknapp had hoped to partner Remy with Zamora but may again ask Mackie or Taarabt to play through the middle on Saturday against Swansea City.