LONDON (AP)Chelsea said Reece James will be sidelined for up to a month after the England defender sustained a recurrence of his knee injury in the 2-0 Premier League victory over Bournemouth.

James, who missed the World Cup because of his long-term injury, looked close to tears when he was substituted after 53 minutes of his comeback game Tuesday at Stamford Bridge.

”Scan results have regrettably confirmed a setback for the 23-year-old, with Reece now set to be ruled out for up to a month,” Chelsea said in a statement on Wednesday.

James said on his Twitter account that 2022 ”has been the toughest year to date. Just want to thank you all for the support, none of you go unnoticed. It’s naturally affected me mentally. I’m currently just trying to deal with the cards I’ve been dealt. I hope your end of year is filled with peace, joy and happiness.”

He initially sustained the knee problem in October during a Champions League game against AC Milan.

An eight-week layoff was predicted, which would have seen James fit for the latter stages of the World Cup, but England manager Gareth Southgate decided in November not to select him.

James conceded to being ”devastated” at the time, having worn a knee brace for a month in an effort to try and speed up his recovery.

Eighth-place Chelsea is next in action on New Year’s Day at Nottingham Forest.

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