Almen Abdi has returned to full training for Sheffield Wednesday but is paying the price for his lack of first-team activity since joining the Owls in 2016.
The chequered injury record of the midfield man, who has recovered from a hamstring issue, means manager Jos Luhukay is treading even more carefully than usual.
"Abdi is in full training but is is difficult to speak about this player," said the boss "In two years, how many games has Abdi played? Four? (the figure is actually seven last season and 16 in 2016/17).
"He is 'training fit' but not 'Championship game fit'. You need a lot of games first in the under-23s when you have played 90 minutes so few times in the last two years."
Luhukay takes his 12th-placed Championship side to Bristol City on Sunday and Abdi, aged 31, who has recovered from a hamstring problem, has no chance of making the squad for the Robins clash.
The manager always refuses to rush back players from injury to minimise the chance of them breaking down again.
"It is not respectful to bring Abdi into the team for Sunday," he said. " You must have the 100 per cent physical and conditioning side so that you're not in the risk situation of injuries happening.
"I will give players rest and time so we are all 100 per cent sure - me, the medical team, the fitness team - that when I bring them to the team we have made the right decision.
"When that is not there, the player may play one time and then be away from the main group for longer again.
"When they are completely 'training fit', we will give them games for the U-23s before they come back to the full team."
The owls head into their final match before the international break, at Ashton Gate, having lost only once in their last eight league outings. City, who haven't won for four games, are two places above Wednesday but both clubs are on the same number of points: 16.