LONDON (AP) — England left back Ashley Cole broke his left ankle during a challenge from Landon Donovan, an injury that will sideline him for about three months but should allow him to return for the World Cup.
Cole was injured while playing for Chelsea against Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday night, and a scan revealed the extent of the injury on Thursday.
"We are very disappointed because he's a very important player for us," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "Now we have to do our best to get him recovered quickly."
The timetable projects him to be back for England's World Cup opener against the United States on June 12 but would give him only a month to regain fitness for a rematch in Rustenburg, South Africa, against Donovan, a regular starter for the U.S.
"I don't know — I hope so for him and for the England team," Ancelotti said of a possible return for the World Cup.
Cole's backup on England's national team is Bridge. Terry was dropped as England's captain last week following reports that Terry had an affair with Bridge's former girlfriend.
Chelsea's season will end May 8 or 9 unless it advances to the final of the FA Cup on May 15 or the European Champions League on May 22.
If Cole isn't ready for the World Cup, other possible replacements for England include Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock, Manchester City's Joleon Lescott and Everton's Leighton Baines.
Cole was replaced by Michael Ballack after Donovan's challenge in the 57th minute. Although Chelsea did not suggest that Donovan had fouled Cole, Blues assistant coach Ray Wilkins said after the game it was a strong challenge made while Cole was off balance.