Atletico Madrid have been dealt a huge injury blow after it was confirmed that Jose Gimenez will be sidelined for three weeks, ruling him out of the Champions League first leg clash with Chelsea.
Diego Simeone's squad has been ravaged by injuries, suspensions and Covid issues of late, with Moussa Dembele, Mario Hermoso, Hector Herrera, Joao Felix, Thomas Lemar and Kieran Trippier all missing the 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo last time out.
And their wretched luck doesn't appear to be getting any better, with AS revealing star defender Gimenez is set to be ruled out for three weeks with a muscular injury.
The Uruguayan will subsequently miss the first leg of Atletico's Champions League round of 16 tie against Chelsea on 23 February, a fixture which will now take place in Bucharest due to Covid restrictions.
The news will come as a huge boost to Chelsea - who have previously courted Gimenez in a bid to ease their defensive woes - with Atletico now boasting just three fit central defenders.
Gimenez's campaign has already been seriously hampered by injury, with the Atletico man starting just 50% of Los Rojiblancos' La Liga outings this season.
While he is expected to be fit for the second leg of Atleti's tie against Chelsea, the injury will now rule him out of a whole host of La Liga clashes as Simeone looks to guide his side to the Spanish top-flight crown for the first time since 2014.
Gimenez will miss crucial games with Granada, Levante and Villarreal, though he'll be hoping to be fit in time to return for the derby with Real Madrid on 7 March. Despite their injury concerns, Atletico do still hold a healthy cushion over second place Real, currently sitting five points ahead of their city rivals with two games in hand.