COBHAM, England, Oct 19 (Reuters) Chelsea's hopes of regaining the Premier League title were rocked today when coach Avram Grant said defenders John Terry and Ashley Cole were facing lengthy injury layoffs.
England captain Terry had a knee operation on Friday after he was hurt in training ahead of the midweek Euro 2008 qualifier in Russia. He will be out for two to three weeks.
Cole, who damaged his ankle playing for England against Estonia last Saturday, faces four weeks on the sidelines.
The injuries are the latest twists in an eventful start to the season for the English champions of 2005 and 2006.
Coach Jose Mourinho, who led the club to the two titles, left a month ago and was replaced by Grant.
Chelsea, seventh in the Premier League, visit Middlesbrough tomorrow.
''John and Ashley are both injured and so is Salomon Kalou,'' Grant told reporters at the club's training complex at Cobham.
The Israeli coach did not specify the nature of Ivory Coast striker Kalou's injury.
''John Terry had an operation today and will be out for at least two to three weeks,'' said Grant. ''Ashley will be out for around a month.
''John needed the operation so we had to do it. Of course you want all your players to be fit but if it happens, it happens.
We have a big squad and we need to win games without him although I prefer to do it with him.'' Chelsea received another blow earlier this week when Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba told France Football magazine he wanted to leave the club.
''It's not the first time he (Drogba) has said it but I have not spoken to him about it,'' said Grant.
''I would prefer to speak to him first and after I have spoken to him I will speak to you.'' Reuters BJR RN2222