LONDON — Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has picked up a right knee injury that will require surgery and will keep him out of action for “quite a long time.”
Mourinho says the Belgium international picked up the injury in training, but adds that he could not be “more specific about the injury or the time he will be out.”
Courtois’ absence will mean a return for Asmir Begovic, a former Canadian under-20 player who now plays internationally for Bosnia-Herzegovina, in goal for Saturday’s match at Everton.
The injury is the latest setback for the Premier League champions, who have taken only four points from their opening four games and are already eight points adrift of leader Manchester City.
Mourinho also says Brazil midfielder Oscar is still unavailable because of injury.
Begovic signed with Chelsea in July.
Born in Yugoslavia in 1987, Begovic was four when his family fled war-torn Bosnia. After seven years in Germany, they moved to Edmonton.
He attracted attention when he was 15, making the provincial and national team. An agent helped set up trials in England with Portsmouth and Tottenham but Begovic liked Portsmouth so much that he signed before trying out with Tottenham.
He was loaned out to Belgium’s La Louviere and England’s Macclesfield Town, Bournemouth, Yeovil Town and Ipswich Town before signing with Stoke City in early 2010.
He made 172 league and cup appearances for the Potters after joining the club from Portsmouth in a 3.25-million-pound transfer.
At the FIFA under-20 World Cup in Canada in 2007, Begovic co-captained Canada with Will Johnson, now captain of Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers.
With files from The Canadian Press
The Associated Press