Chelsea collected all three points in their return to Premier League play on Tuesday, but the storyline, unfortunately, revolves around a Reece James injury. The Blues entered the match against Bournemouth having lost three consecutive league fixtures. The injury bogs down a refreshing 2-0 result for the west London club.

Reece James departed the match after just 52 minutes. The defender appeared to point to his knee after lying on the pitch for a few moments. While he was able to walk down the tunnel by himself, the England international looked heartbroken as he exited the field.

The match on Tuesday was the first appearance for James since October. The star right back previously missed nine total games with a knee injury. Seven of these matches were in the Premier League.

James is one of Chelsea’s most important players

Prior to the Bournemouth game, Chelsea boss Graham Potter spoke about the importance of James. “Reece is a top player and when he’s not with us, it’s a miss,” said Potter.

Potter isn’t lying. In fact, Chelsea have won six of eight Premier League fixtures this season when James features. Compare this to the team collecting just one victory in seven top flight games without their star right back.

The manager also stressed the need to ease James back into action during his prematch press conference. “We just need to be clear and careful with the minutes that he plays but I’m confident that the more football he plays, the more we’ll see what a fantastic player he is,” stated Potter.

Injury bug comes back for Reece James

It has been a very tough season for James. Normally a mainstay in Chelsea’s lineup, the defender has managed just 12 total appearances for his club during the current campaign. However, the aforementioned injury also forced the right back to miss the World Cup in Qatar as well.

Chelsea fans will be holding their breath until news comes out about the severity of James’ injury. The Blues next play away to Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day.