We always think of John Terry as this indestructible player who shakes of a tackle which would have destroyed a lesser mortal and plunges right back into the thick of things. Probably true. It was quite illustrative to hear FSC's Arsenal vs Chelsea fan coverage after the Eboue tackle, when the Chelsea fan waxed confidently on the recuperative powers of Terry only to be surprised that he had to be taken off.
Terry is now out 6-8 weeks with a fracture of the third metatarsal and the cuneiform bones of the right foot. The injuries are piling up thick and fast. He was operated for a chronic back problem last winter due to a herniated disk which knocked him out for about three months. He was supposed to have comeback in a month but despite the back surgery he continued to suffer pain. He came back for the Porto CL fixture in which he sustained an ankle injury which in all probablity should have ruled him out for the Carling Cup final against Arsenal in February this year but he forced himself back into the squad. That bitterly contested final saw Terry knocked out cold from an inadvertent kick to the face by Abou Diaby which led him to swallow his tongue and had to be rushed to the emergency room to clear his airway. He was forced to idle the sidelines for two weeks. In all Chelsea missed Terry for about 4 months and they cite Terry's injuries as a major reason in their failure to retain the Premiership last season.
In October this year, Terry suffered a knee cartilage injury leading to swelling and pain. The long term treatment involved knee surgery and weeks of rehab. But McLaren was in a bind with England fighting Croatia, Russia, and Israel for a Euro berth. It was decided that Terry would recuperate through rest and conventional methods. He missed the all important match against Russia in the Euro qualifiers. It proved to be fatal as the English squad suffered a humiliating defeat. Prior to the knee injury Terry was playing with a sculpted mask to protect a cheekbone fracture inflicted by a Dempsey elbow and at the same time nursing a broken toe. Not surprisingly, it coincided with Avram Grant's painful transition into the Premiership in the post Mourinho phase.
This time around with the Premiership race in danger of tightening to a two horse race and one can understand Avram Grant's concern that Chelsea's chances are slipping away. But this is the time to be responsible and say enough is enough.
The human body is a system of carefully constructed bio-mechanical linkages. What goes on in the spine affects the lower body and vice versa. The problem is that John Terry has been given this super mythic status in which his availability visibly affects both Chelsea and England. He plays through the pain barrier and the managers and fans love him for it. He can take it on the chin unlike the other namby-pambies. But a time will come when Terry may not be able to play at all because of the cumulative effect of all these crippling injuries. Take it on the chin might win you the battle but it will surely lose you the war when you don't get time to recuperate and get the right medical attention.