An ankle injury that Christian Pulisic picked up on U.S. national team duty in September is still holding him back from a return, according to Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who confirmed that Pulisic will miss the club’s UEFA Champions League fixture this week.
Tuchel says the 23-year-old Pulisic is “really suffering” and that “recovery is not happening” for the United States international.
Pulisic suffered the injury during the USA’s 4-1 win in Honduras on Sept. 8. Well over a month later and it’s not clear when he’ll be returning.
MORE: Christian Pulisic is a NY Jets fan? Twitter reacts
Positive progress was being made in his recovery at one point, but there have been setbacks that have left Pulisic stuck on the sidelines. Tuchel was asked for more details by reporters ahead of the midweek Champions League clash with Malmo.
“There is nothing to worry about in terms of details and that we are hiding details. I cannot give you all of the details because I am not a doctor, but in the moment he has had some setbacks from pain.
“Not from a major injury or complications. It is simply the pain in the ankle that disturbs him. Once these players with quick movements like Christian, once they feel this pain and they are not free in the movement, the recovery is not happening.
MORE: World Cup qualifying standings & schedule
“You start all over again, and you start all over again, and you reach a certain point and the pain comes back. And you have to do a little pause and start all over again.
“So right now we are very, very close. He was so close to come to team training last week and had a little setback and reaction, by pain. Nothing serious. From there on we go.
“He is very impatient, of course, and he does everything and we can see him suffer in every meeting and every time we meet him here [at the training ground] he is really suffering and he wants to be on the pitch and help us. Everybody is doing his very best. Unfortunately the injury takes its time.”
Pulisic’s 2021-22 season with Chelsea
Pulisic has made just two appearances for Chelsea since the start of the 2021-22 season: one came in the Premier League and the other in the UEFA Super Cup.
The lone league appearance came in the Premier League season opener and he found the target in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Aug. 14. But after he was replaced eight minutes from time by Kai Havertz he has not figured for the Blues since.
MORE: Pepi showing why he’s the dual national the USMNT had to have
He missed two matches in August due to COVID-19 before joining the USMNT for international duty in September. He played for the USA in that September window, suffering the ankle injury in Honduras which has forced him to miss out on every Chelsea game since.
He’s missed a further eight matches as a result of the injury with still no indication as to when Tuchel will be a position to call upon the American again.