Chelsea midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron is to return to Argentina to undergo treatment on a nagging back problem which may ultimately require surgery.
“He’s going to Argentina to see a specialist who knows him well. In a few days we will know more,” Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri said.
“Maybe he will need an operation I am not sure.”
Veron returned from international duty with Argentina in November with back pain which has prevented him from playing.
Fellow Argentinian Hernan Crespois also struggling with injury and is expected to be out for a further month.
“We feel the absence of these two players very keenly,” Ranieri added.