Nick Powell will sit out Wigan Athletic’s festive programme in a bid to cure his hamstring problem.
But boss Paul Cook is confident that will allow his star man to come back ‘fitter and stronger’ for the second half of the season.
Powell missed last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Bolton after having to come off in each of the two previous clashes against Reading and then Blackburn.
Despite being sent out against Rovers just three days after initially pulling up lame, Cook insists it’s an issue that couldn’t have been prevented.
“Our supporters can rest assured that Nick’s never been asked to go out there and play when he’s been injured,” the Latics boss said.
“It’s not something me as a manager would be interested in.
“I’m not one for asking players to ‘give it a go’, or ‘see how it is’ - I don’t do that.
“Our players have to come through medical tests that proves they are fit to play, they have to train the day before and prove they are fit.
“We’ve never been in a position where it’s all hands to the pump and we’ve simply got to win the next game.
“Of course you always want to win the next game, but not at the expense of putting players out there when they shouldn’t be there.
“There’s probably been a build-up of different stuff with Nick that’s led to him having the problem he’s got.
“He’ll now be out for a period of time and it’s something we’ll have to adapt to.”
The problem won’t require surgery, but will instead be managed by a programme of rest and treatment over the hectic Christmas period.
“It’s a perfectly-timed injury...I didn’t mean it like that...if you’re listening Nick!” laughed Cook,
“Seriously Nick’s been great since we’ve been here, for a player who’s had historical issues with injury.
“As a club we’re delighted with what we’ve managed to get out of him for 18 months.
“We’re disappointed he’s broken down, but it is what it is, and he’ll be back fitter and stronger for it.”
There was more positive news concerning fellow forward Gavin Massey, who has been sidelined since August 25 with his own hamstring problem.
“Gavin’s back with the first team, there’s a plan for him to get some minutes next week with a view to being involved at Ipswich next weekend,” Cook revealed.
“And I have to say again there’s been no rush getting Gavin back quicker than he should be.
“He’s way ahead of schedule because of the speed Gavin has recovered, not because of him being pushed.”