Reece james knee injury

How bad is Reece James knee injury?


Reece James made his much-awaited return from a knee injury only for 50 minutes before going down with another injury. The 23-year old had to be substituted following the injury and now faces another month on the sidelines. So, what’s going on with Reece? Is it a different injury? Is it a recurrence of his previous injury? How bad is it? 

I will discuss all the details in this article including the mechanism, severity, potential structures involved and a trip back to Milan to cover his initial injury. Let’s get started.

What was Reece James’ initial injury?

Reece James was injured in October in a Champions League game against AC Milan. During the second half, Reece caught his knee in an awkward position while attempting to win the ball against Theo Hernandez. 

Reece James injury vs AC Milan
Image by Imechanisms

Looking back at the video, Reece’s right knee was forced in a varus stress position(outwards) which is a concern for the lateral collateral ligament(LCL). The England International was reported to be sidelined for around 6-8 weeks, suggesting a Grade 2 sprain. For those wondering, a Grade 2 sprain indicates a partial tear of the ligament. 

LCL knee anatomy

The aftermath of Reece’s initial injury resulted in him being forced to miss the World Cup. While this was a massive disappointment for England fans, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Chelsea fans who feared a call-up from Gareth Southgate despite being injured(as seen with Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips).

With the World Cup kicking off, Reece James got some much-needed rest to recover and prepare for the Premier League restart in late December. 

The rehab progressed as planned and Reece James was back in the starting lineup for Chelsea against Bournemouth.

Reece James’ latest injury setback

Sometimes things don’t go as planned and that was the case with James. Reece James went down after playing 50 minutes against the Cherries, immediately signalling towards the bench. Reece was pointing towards the right knee again which is always a concerning sign, especially with the risk of re-injuries.

Looking back at the video footage, we observed some key points:

  • The physio put an ice pack on the outside of the knee
Reece James injury vs Bournemouth
Image by Imechanisms

We were not able to spot the exact moment when James got injured, hence, the icepack on the outside of the knee provides great insight into a potential lateral knee injury. However, the most defining observation is

  • The physio performing a varus stress test
Reece James knee injury vs Bournemouth
Image by Imechanisms

The varus stress test is a part of the lateral knee assessment done to check the integrity of the LCL. 

From the following observations, our concerns lean towards a recurrent LCL sprain. The reported timeline is around a month which comes as a relief considering James had a surgical consult back when the initial injury occurred.

Final thoughts

The lateral aspect of the knee is a complex region and includes many structures due to which we cannot say for sure that Reece James injured his LCL in both incidents. An official statement from the club would have been pretty helpful but we know how stubborn English clubs are when specifying injury details. 

Nevertheless, we hope you found the “How bad is Reece James knee injury?” article helpful. You can check the latest update on Reece’s injury on our Premier League injury table. Why don’t you read our analysis of Wesley Fofana’s injury? Thank you. 


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