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Essien forced out until February

Chelsea FC midfielder Michael Essien will not play again this month because of an ankle injury, putting in doubt his involvement in the African Cup of Nations.

'Bad injury'
"He has a bad injury to the ligaments of his ankle," Chelsea manager José Mourinho said. "The information I have from the medical department is that the end of the month is his recovery period." The 23-year-old may stay in London for treatment before heading off to join Ghana at the African championship in Egypt, which runs from 20 January to 10 February.

Barcelona battle
Essien, who was hurt in Monday's 3-1 victory at West Ham United FC, has made 19 Premiership appearances for Chelsea since his summer move from Olympique Lyonnais. He has also played in each of the club's six UEFA Champions League group stage games, but, regardless of his injury, will miss both legs of the Round of 16 tie against FC Barcelona through suspension.