London - Chelsea will have to do without Frank Lampard for their Premiership summit meeting with Arsenal on November 29 after the England midfielder was ruled out of action for three weeks.
Lampard suffered a thigh injury while training with the England squad in Qatar on Thursday and flew back to London amid fears he could be sidelined for up to two months.
But after he was assessed by Chelsea's medical staff on Friday morning, a club spokesman predicted that the muscle tear he suffered will need only three weeks to heal.
Chelsea will claim Lampard's 151 000-pounds-a-week wages in compensation from the Football Association (FA) while he is sidelined by an injury that has been linked, in English media reports, to the allegedly cramped conditions on the charter plane England used to fly to Doha for Saturday's friendly with Brazil.
That thesis was dismissed by England's head coach Fabio Capello, who pointed out that the same plane has been used without repercussions by the squad for much longer trips, notably to Trinidad and to Kazakhstan.
England made the seven-hour flight to Doha on Wednesday and Lampard suffered the injury at the start of England's first training session the following morning, which took place in temperatures of more than 30 degrees at a time when most of the players would normally have been having breakfast.
"We always train at this time, except the day before an away game when we train at night in the stadium where the match is going to be played," Capello said.
"Yes, it is hot. But if we are going to need air-conditioning, we have to train inside. The match is being played outside.
"There always seems to be a different story. The plane was exactly the same one as we used to get to Trinidad last year and Kazakhstan earlier this year. We had no injuries then and we won both matches."