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John Terry has escaped a lengthy injury lay-off after Chelsea confirmed he had suffered "no significant damage" to his knee ligaments in their Barclays Premier League draw with Liverpool.
The European champions announced captain Terry would be sidelined for "weeks rather than months" following an MRI scan on the injury that forced him off during Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea posted on their official Twitter feed: "MRI Scans reveal no significant damage to John Terry's cruciate ligaments. He will be out weeks rather than months."The club added in a statement on, www.chelseafc.com: "Today's MRI scans on John Terry's right knee thankfully show no significant damage to the cruciate ligaments.
"Chelsea Football Club's medical team will conduct further tests over the next two or three days once the swelling has subsided to determine how long John will be out, but it will be a matter of weeks not months."
Any absence is nevertheless a huge blow for the Blues, with Terry having suffered the injury in his first game back after his domestic four-match racism ban.
The club had struggled badly in defence in his absence, slipping from first to third in the table.
He will almost certainly miss their potentially decisive Champions League Group E game at Juventus, as well as crucial league matches against West Brom and Manchester City.
He could even be a doubt for their Club World Cup trip to Japan early next month.
Petr Cech, who has been Chelsea's de facto captain in the absence of Terry and Frank Lampard, was confident losing the defender for another extended spell would not derail their season.
He said: "We managed to play games without him and we have players who will have a chance to impress.
"I have confidence. Obviously, it's a pity we will lose him again but we have a large squad and quality defenders to deal with that.
"It's important to have people who can step up. This is a chance for the others to shine and we are going to deal with his loss for him."
Terry has demonstrated supreme powers of recovery in the past, coming back from minor surgery on the same knee weeks ahead of schedule last season.
Cech added: "He knows what it takes to come back in good shape and as soon as possible. He always heals well."
Terry went down in agony 10 minutes from half-time yesterday following an accidental collision with Luis Suarez.
He was carried off on a stretcher and left Stamford Bridge on crutches and in a knee brace, sparking fears of a long-term absence.
His departure left Chelsea down to two fit centre-backs in Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, with David Luiz sidelined by tonsilitis and Ashley Cole nursing a hamstring problem.
Having conceded 12 goals in five games during Terry's ban, they shipped another when he left the field on Sunday after powering them in front with his 50th goal for the club.
Manager Roberto Di Matteo bristled at suggestions his side were in the midst of another winter of discontent following their third league game without a win.
But Cech was confident Manchester United's three-point lead over Chelsea at the top of the table - and Manchester City's one-point advantage - was easily recoverable.
"The gap is not a huge problem because it is early in the season but any advantage you give to City and United, they can use it in the future," he said.
"It looks like we will be the three to chase the title. There is a long way to go and you will have periods where you might not win every game.
"If you start looking back at points dropped here and there, it is not going to win you the league.
"If we get around 90 points, we should be fine."
To do that, Chelsea will also need to be more ruthless in front of goal after they wasted several chances to kill off Liverpool.
Fernando Torres was guilty of sending efforts too close to Brad Jones either side of half-time as his scoring jinx against his former club continued.
In stark contrast, his successor as Liverpool's main goal-getter netted with the visitors' first shot on target and would have made it two from two but for a vital Cech interception.
"He is a goalscorer and is always in the right place to tap the ball in and you have to beware of this," Cech said.
"It is a gift. Not everyone has that and it seems when any ball goes into the box, he's in the right place. It is a great skill to have."