Yuri Zhirkov has allayed fears that he needs an operation on his right knee.
Chelsea’s marquee summer signing has been unable to make his debut following an £18million move from CSKA Moscow.
The Russia winger, 26 today, hopes to return to training in the next few days but will not be fit to face Fulham in the west London derby on Sunday.
Instead, he is targetting the home tie against Burnley on Saturday week as the perfect game in which to make his bow.
Zhirkov has dismissed reports in Russia that he was set for a lengthy absence because of surgery.
‘I don’t know who spread these rumours, but they don’t correspond to reality,’ he said.
‘My condition has improved and the doctors say that in two or three days I will be able to return to training, although not fully. I’ll work on an individual program.
‘All will be clear after an examination on Thursday. I was feeling pain and noticeably limping when running, but now that’s behind me. I just need to tone up the leg.’
Zhirkov has been troubled by a compound knee injury that worsened after his appearance for Chelsea against AC Milan on the clubs’ pre-season US tour.