Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink says striker Radamel Falcao's latest injury is "very serious" but says the Colombian's season is not necessarily over.
Monaco-owned Falcao has managed just a handful of appearances since swapping a loan spell at Manchester United for Stamford Bridge, suffering a muscular injury in November before a further setback early in Guus Hiddink's spell last month.
Falcao's parent club have opted against bringing him back to the Stade Louis II due to his fitness troubles and Hiddink says he will be out for a number of weeks.
But, asked if Falcao's season was over, Hiddink told reporters: "There are still many months to go, so that's too far.
"We're almost at the end of January, then February, normally six, seven, eight weeks with serious damage. It's very serious.
It's a pity for him because he's very eager to come back. That's a bit of the problem - he was so eager the previous time and wanted to prove himself maybe a little bit too much to me, and then he fell into this injury again."
Falcao was considered one of Europe's most lethal strikers prior to his departure from Atletico Madrid in 2013, but a long-term cruciate injury hampered his form for Monaco and led to him missing the 2014 World Cup.
The 29-year-old has since struggled for consistent form at both United and Chelsea, with Hiddink acknowledging the difficulties Falcao is currently dealing with.
"If you've been one of the star players in Europe scoring many, many goals and then you have these [injury problems] at the age in which you want to perform in your career, it must be very hard for him," added the Dutchman.
"The medical staff and physical staff will bring him to me when he is recovered, and we haven't set a time on that.
"We'll give him time to recover because he's always dropping back into physical problems. Normally I like to put a little pressure on [the medical staff] to have the player available, but in this case I'll step back and let them deliver a fit player to me."