Michael Essien returns to training; massive boost for Chelsea
Michael Essien has returned to light training after recovering from injury he suffered at the start of the season
Michael Essien has handed under-pressure Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas some good news after returning to light training.
The Ghana international, who has been missing so far this season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, has also started ball work again.
The 28-year-old participated in various passing and dribbling drills on Friday under the watchful eye of Chelsea's backroom team.
Essien also took part in different sprint exercises at the club's Cobham training ground, a clear sign he is well advanced on his road to recovery after summer surgery.
The midfielder will continue with his carefully constructed rehabilitation regime before returning to full training towards the end of December.
Villas-Boas is confident of having Essien available for the crunch Barclays Premier League clash against champions Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 4.
Essien broke down with the injury during the first week of pre-season training in July. The former Lyon man suffered the same knee problem playing for Ghana in 2008.
Sportsmail revealed in July that members of Chelsea's medical team feel his persistent knee complaints are in part down to his over-developed upper leg muscles putting too much strain on the joint.
The return of the powerful midfielder will come as a welcome news Chelsea's wretched run. The Blues have lost four of their last seven games in all competition.