Ruben Loftus-Cheek has returned to Chelsea for the foreseeable future to continue his rehabilitation on a serious ankle injury.
The midfielder, on loan at Crystal Palace for the season, could be out until April.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson is praying the player recovers a lot sooner, with rest and physiotherapy, instead of having potential surgery.
On Monday at his pre-match press conference, Hodgson revealed to the written media Loftus-Cheek has left Palace to return to Stamford Bridge for the time being.
And he won’t know any more on the player’s progress for up to another two weeks.
“Chelsea insist on having him back there on this period of rehabilitation, so we won’t really know until such time that they release him back to us,” the boss said.
“I presume our doctor is contact with their doctor, but the agreement was that he would spend two-to-three weeks without having an surgical intervention, in the hope that naturally the problem he has will be resolved.
“And during that time, Chelsea have insisted they take care of that rather we here at Crystal Palace, because they regard him as their player, of course.
“We will now wait for when that period has passed, then he’ll come back to us. We will then test whether or not the injury is still there or whether as they think, the injury will clear up.
“So that’s one week in, I think, so there’s another 10-14 days to go before I can tell you anything about Ruben Loftus-Cheek at all.
“I haven’t seen him literally for 10 days.”
Asked if Palace are considering to cancel the loan deal to free up a loan space in the next few days, Hodgson hasn’t even contemplated it.
Officials at Selhurst Park are confident Loftus-Cheek will be back sooner than expected, but for now he is in the hands of parent club Chelsea and their doctors.
“No,” Hodgson said sharply over the idea of cancelling the deal.
“We do not have anybody lined up we want to loan that would even encourage us to send Ruben Loftus-Cheek back.
“Secondly, we are optimistic that many of us are in the club from the chairman downwards, we still think he might recovery from this injury quicker than has initially been suggested.
“We want him with us at an important time of the season to help us win game to help us stay in the league.
“There has not been a question of us sending him back. The questions have been around the treatment and where the treatment should take place.
“That is something that goes on between the medical departments and is bound by the contract we signed with Chelsea.”