The 31-year-old had not played since August, when he was injured against Tottenham.
N’Golo Kante has undergone surgery for his hamstring injury, according to a statement from Chelsea.
“The midfielder met with a club medical professional to discuss his rehabilitation options, and it was mutually agreed that N’Golo would have surgery to correct the injury.
Following a successful operation, N’Golo is scheduled to miss four months of action.
Kante was crucial to France’s success in Russia four years ago, and his absence will be significant for Didier Deschamps, whose normal midfield partner, Paul Pogba, is now in serious question for the tournament in Qatar.
The announcement is also a setback to Chelsea’s chances of jumping back into the Premier League title race following Graham Potter’s strong start as manager.
Kante excelled during the Blues’ drive to the Champions League title in 2020/21, but Chelsea have had to adjust to life without the ex-Leicester player owing to recurring injuries over the last year.
Chelsea are eight points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal with a game in hand and require a maximum of three points from their next two group games in order to advance to the knockout round of the Champions League.