Antonio Conte says he is unsure whether Chelsea will loan out Baba Rahman again in the new year.
The left-back, 23, has been sidelined for almost a year, having suffered a serious knee injury while on loan at German club Schalke.
He was unable to make an impact at Chelsea following his move from Augsburg in 2015 and has been tipped to return to Germany on loan during the second half of the season.
But Blues boss Conte does not yet know whether the player will spend the rest of the campaign away from Stamford Bridge.
“He is coming back from a bad injury and he’s struggling a bit to recover the best form,” Conte explained.
“I must be honest, I don’t know what will happen with Baba.
“About the human aspect, I’d like to give him the opportunity to come back strong like before, but I think now he has to face the recovery and he’s showing great patience, because he is struggling a lot.
“I don’t know what will happen with Baba, but if I can help him then I am ready to help.
“There is the player aspect and also the human aspect. It is good for him to stay here and take the right time to recover.”
Meanwhile, Conte has revealed that he expects David Luiz to be available for selection early in the new year.