Mansfield Town are not putting a time on how long it will take for defender Lee Collins to shake off an injury – but boss Adam Murray said it would be weeks and not months as some rumours have suggested.
Central defender Collins is in a protective boot for now to help with his foot injury and Murray admitted: “It was a little bit of a kick in the so and so’s with Lee because he is a massive player for us.
“He is a leader and gives us that solidness in the centre of defence - and he can play.
“So he is a big loss for us, but the boot is precautionary. It speeds up recovery time and takes a lot of pressure off the injury. We are getting the bruising and swelling down at the minute and as soon as that’s done and Lee is pain-free, he will be back in.
“We haven’t got a time on that as it’s a healing process so it could be a week, it could be two weeks. But Lee is the type of person that if he can get through games, he’ll be back. We will have to manage that.
“It’s not going to be four, five or six months, it’s a matter of weeks and the quicker we can get him back the better.”
Murray explained: “It happened after the Leicester game. The Monday after he felt a niggle in the top of his foot in one of his metatarsals.
“Without going into the science of it, from an old injury he had years ago, he’s put a bit more pressure on another part of his foot and there is now an irritation which needs to settle down before Lee can go back in or it could lead to something worse. We can’t risk that as it could then be four, five, six, seven months which we don’t want.
“So we are having to get through these next couple of weeks. But if Ryan Tafazolli performs like he did last night, Lee won’t be getting his shirt back.”
Murray only has a small number of centre halves to call on right now so is being very careful with Collins out and gave teenager Corbin Shires a full debut in the 4-1 Capital Cup defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.
“I also thought Krystian (Pearce) was absolutely superb on Saturday,” he said.
“He missed the first couple of weeks of pre-season so we’ve had to kickstart him and get him going. So to give him three games in seven days it was a little bit too much for him to play at Hillsborough. We want to keep him fresh.
“We are a little bit light in that area. We gave Corbin (Shires) his first start last night and it was a baptism of fire for him. He came up against some movement he probably doesn’t even see in his nightmares. But what an experience for him and from the minus points of the game he will have learned the most lessons last night. He did some really good things.
“For a 17-year-old to go into that environment, I thought he was excellent. He will learn from his mistakes and he will grow.
“At the minute we will ride with what we’ve got. If we were to take another knock then we would have to bring somebody in. At the minute we are hoping we are going to get Lee back sooner than later.”