WE should not celebrate the fact that Ashley Cole's injury, picked up during Chelsea's surprise defeat at Everton last night, will keep him out for three months.
Nobody will rejoice over this evening's latest update that the 29-year-old has a fractured ankle.
Of course not. Terrible news. But it DOES raise the intriguing prospect of Wayne Bridge playing in England's friendly against Egypt at Wembley on March 3 - and possibly the whole World Cup next to a certain John Terry.
Cole turned his ankled in the Premier League leader's shock 2-1 defeat at Goodison Park. He had to be helped off in the 57th minute after a challenge involving USA skipper Landon Donovan - the two of them should face up again when England take on the Americans in the opening Group C clash at the World Cup in Rustenburg on June 12.
Assistant boss Ray Wilkins said afterwards: "He has taken quite a nasty knock. It wasn't a foul but it was a very strong challenge and he was slightly off balance.
"He has got a slight problem with his ankle but we will get back to Cobham and assess the situation."
But that was before yesterday's scans revealed a fracture. Now the club are saying he will be lucky to be back before the end of the season.
The night before we saw Manchester City see off Bolton 2-0 with Bridge, Cole's England understudy, playing the second game of his comeback and looking reasonably competent.
With Cole out of the England clash against African champions Egypt, Bridge should get the call - which will see him in the dressing-room with Terry (above), the axed England captain.
Axed, of course, because he had an affair (including an alleged abortion) with the mother of Bridge's child, Vanessa Perroncel. England coach Fabio Capello decided that was an affair too far for his team leader - but Terry says he will continue to "give his all" for England as non-captain.
For Terry, now on a Valentine's Day dash to his wife Toni and three-year-old twins who fled to Dubai when the story broke, the whole thing is becoming a Bridge too far.
After scoring the winner against Burnley and impressing against Hull and Arsenal, the strain started to show last night as Terry was taken apart by Everton's Louis Saha. The Frenchman, who missed a 44th minute penalty, escaped for the first goal, a header, and twice picked up on missed clearances from Terry, scoring the winner off the second blunder in as many minutes.
For a man of Terry's stature, it was a nightmare ninety minutes. As Everton boss David Moyes said afterwards: "Saha should have had four."
Terry now gets a week off, missing Chelsea's FA Cup fifth round clash with Cardiff, as he attempts to patch up his marriage. He looked like he needed it last night, Wilkins insisted: "If there were mistakes by John, I'm sure it will be the slightest of blips."
The whole evening was a blip for the Blues, and things weren't much better for chasing Manchester United, who drew 1-1 with Aston Villa, had Nani sent off for nothing and saw Ryan Giggs fracture his arm.
That gave Arsenal the chance to close the gap in a hardfought 1-0 win over Liverpool with Abou Diaby scoring the headed winner. Quite how referee Howard Webb missed Cesc Fabregas's late handball on the edge of the box, I shall never know.
Spurs failed to close the gap on Liverpool in the battle for fourth place, allowing Wolves to do the double over them with a 1-0 win at Molineux while West Ham relieved their relegation fears - and calmed the nerves of new owners David Gold and David Sullivan - with a 2-0 win over Birmingham, sold by Gold and Sullivan in November.
Labels: arsenal versus chelsea, ashley cole injury, aston villa, injury shock, john terry scandal, liverpool, manchester city's wayne bridge, manchester united draw, ryan giggs fracture