It’s been quite the comeback for David Luiz at Chelsea.
Antonio Conte certainly raised a few eyebrows when he took the decision to re-sign the eccentric Brazilian from Paris Saint-Germain for £34million.
The centre-back hasn’t always been the most solid of defenders, with PSG often using him in midfield instead.
Yet, upon his return to Stamford Bridge, he’s managed to oust John Terry to secure an automatic place alongside Gary Cahill at the back.
Such is Chelsea’s reliance on the 29-year-old that they can’t afford to lose him.
In fact, in recent weeks, he has visibly been playing through the pain.
The Mirror report that incredibly, he is still feeling the effects of Sergio Aguero’s horror challenge in the 3-1 win over Manchester City.
— Cobham Blues (@cobhamblues) February 12, 2017
Aguero lunged in with a tackle that put Dele Alli’s attempt last night to shame.
That game was on December 3, but as Luiz has continued playing, his knee hasn’t really had time to heal.
Conte is therefore being careful to nurse him, even though Luiz hasn’t missed a league game since. Against Burnley, he had to have his knee strapped.
There’s still a long way to go in the Premier League campaign, while Chelsea also have the FA Cup to focus on.
Nathan Ake has returned from his loan spell at Bournemouth, which gives them another option should Luiz need to be rested – but Conte is clearly hoping he can use him just enough to make the difference in their title chase.