Carlo Ancelotti has said there are no plans for Jude Bellingham to undergo surgery on his dislocated shoulder but the Real Madrid coach wouldn't rule it out in future if the midfielder continues to suffer with the problem.
Bellingham dislocated his shoulder in Madrid's LaLiga match with Rayo Vallecano on Nov. 5, and his recovery saw him miss their games with Braga and Valencia in the week that followed.
The England star has since returned to the team, scoring against Cádiz and Napoli, but speaking in a news conference on Friday, Ancelotti admitted that he's still not fully fit.
"Bellingham has been training individually," Ancelotti said. "He's been recovering after the ankle knock he picked up against Napoli.
"He has to look after his shoulder. He has to do specific work to strengthen it. But he hasn't had any problems playing, and in that sense, he'll improve with each day that passes."
Bellingham has scored 15 goals in 17 games for Madrid since joining from Borussia Dortmund last summer, and his form saw him recognised this week with the 2023 Golden Boy Award for Europe's best under-21 player.
When asked again about the shoulder problem, Ancelotti said that surgery wasn't currently one of the options being considered.
"Not right now, no," he said. "The shoulder is a special joint. If it gets dislocated over and over again, you might need surgery. But right now [Bellingham] is feeling better."
Madrid travel to Real Betis in LaLiga on Saturday top of the table, with 38 points from 15 games, level on points with surprise packages Girona, who travel to Barcelona on Sunday.
Ancelotti wouldn't confirm who would start in goal at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, with back-up keeper Andriy Lunin having impressed in recent weeks in the absence of on-loan Kepa Arrizabalaga.
"Kepa is back [from injury], he's trained well," Ancelotti said. "The good thing is we have two keepers we trust. Tomorrow I'll choose. There's competition in goal because Lunin has done very well... We could rotate, we have four games before Christmas."
Madrid have been facing an injury crisis with Thibaut Courtois and Éder Militão ruled out since August with ACL tears, and Aurélien Tchouaméni, Eduardo Camavinga, Vinícius Júnior and Arda Güler also unavailable.
"With Courtois and Militao, we don't know [when they'll be back]," Ancelotti said. "They're recovering well. Tchouameni and Arda [Guler] are close to being back training with us. With Vinícius and Camavinga, we'll have to wait until next year. I think when we come back [after Christmas] they'll be ready."