Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has explained that on-loan midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has returned to parent club Chelsea for treatment of an ankle injury, but the loan hasn't been terminated and the Eagles remain hopeful that he will return to Selhurst Park.
Loftus-Cheek has been out of action since sustaining the ankle problem during Palace's narrow 3-2 defeat at the hands of Arsenal in late December and it was initially feared it could wreck his chances of going to the World Cup with England if it required surgery.
For now, at least, surgery isn't being considered, but Chelsea have taken control.
"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," Hodgson is quoted as saying by The Guardian after speaking with the press ahead of Tuesday's clash with West Ham.
"The agreement was that he would spend two to three weeks without having an surgical intervention, in the hope that the problem he has will be resolved naturally."
The Palace boss stated that he expects Loftus-Cheek to then report back to south London.
"During that time, Chelsea have insisted they take care of that because they regard him as their player. We will now wait for that period to pass, then he'll come back to us," Hodgson said.
"We will then test whether or not the injury is still there or whether, as they think, the injury has cleared up. 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."
In light of Loftus-Cheek's absence, Palace have been liked with an approach for West Brom midfielder Jake Livermore, a player to whom Hodgson handed an international debut in 2012.