JAMIE Ward faces another spell on the sidelines after just 15 minutes back on the pitch for Derby County.
The 26-year-old came off the bench to score from the spot and earn the Rams a 1-1 draw at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
But he limped off shortly afterwards after feeling a pull in the damaged hamstring which had kept him out for three months.
Derby boss Nigel Clough is now hoping that his star man is only missing for days or weeks, not months.
“Only Will Hughes’ injury forced him on and I hope we don’t get punished for it too much,” said the Rams boss after an exciting clash at the Valley.
“When you’ve been out for three months and feel anything at all, I would rather someone comes off straight away.”
Derby must now play a waiting game to see when Ward will be fit, but he is certainly out of tomorrow night’s home clash with Middlesbrough.
“We need a few days to let it settle down again,” said Clough. “We were confident he could get 10 or 15 minutes.
“He has that ability to create something from nothing and get you a goal.
“It’s very difficult when you’ve lost four major players to injury — Jamie, Shaun Barker, Jake Buxton and Craig Bryson.
“When he felt it tighten there was no point leaving him out there.”
Clough’s men looked good at the Valley and were the better side until Danny Haynes opened the scoring for Charlton with an absolute cracker.
The Addicks were then on top until the late dismissal of defender Michael Morrison for a foul on the excellent John Brayford which gave Derby their penalty.
Clough was a tad disappointed with a draw but relieved his men had not lost.
“We’ve got to score when we’re on top,” he said. “We hung on in there at the start of the second half and then got ourselves a point.
“We hit the post and had one knocked off the line as we looked for the winner.
“But you’re always conscious you can lose a game against 10 men.
“And we didn’t want to lose today.
“We’re a little bit disappointed with a just a point over the course of the game.
“We got away with a little bit in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half.
“But we started well and should have been two or three up in the first 15 minutes.”
Clough started both Theo Robinson and Nathan Tyson in an attacking 4-4-2 formation, but both were disappointing and missed chances to score goals which would have made it difficult to leave them out.
“We thought Nathan and Theo would give them a run up front,” said the Rams boss. “And Conor Sammon had to have a rest at some point.
“I thought we were a bit more solid with Ben Davies on the left hand side.
“We can’t play any more positively than we did today.
“It was a bit of a throwback - it was two sides having a good go at each other.
“It was a very good game to watch.”