Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole may miss the rest of the season through injury.
Cole has struggled with injury throughout this season
The England international, 25, last played as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Manchester United on 26 November.
He was sidelined with what was then termed as a minor stress fracture of his foot but has since been advised by a club doctor to undergo surgery.
The player has yet to make up his mind but Blues boss Jose Mourinho revealed: "Joe Cole, I think is an injury forever - or at least for the season."
Pain in his foot following the Old Trafford match stopped Cole from taking part in training and bruising was discovered.
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"He has a stress fracture and has to make a decision about surgery or no surgery. I don't know his decision but time flies," added Mourinho.
"He has an opinion from our doctor, which is surgery, but we are waiting for the player to make his decision."
Cole has made only three starts and eight substitute appearances this season.
The champions go into 2007 six points behind Premiership leaders Manchester United and also have captain John Terry, winger Arjen Robben and goalkeepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini nursing injuries.