Concerned Chelsea are doing everything in their power to get John Terry fit for their Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain.
The Blues skipper has been struggling with a hamstring injury since limping out of the recent 5-1 thrashing of Newcastle.
He missed out again on Saturday as stand-in skipper Branislav Ivanovic fired the west Londoners to a comeback victory at Southampton.
Guus Hiddink is treading carefully with the veteran’s fitness as he doesn’t want to aggravate the problem and Terry will almost certainly miss Tuesday’s trip to Norwich.
Interim boss Hiddink is consulting with the player over the issue, along with his medical team, given the Englishman’s advancing years.
And he may even have to organise a behind-closed-doors game to get Terry some much-needed game time ahead of the second leg clash with PSG.
Hiddink, who admitted Terry had not been close to playing against the Saints, said: “He was working this week and he went on the pitch. We looked at him and asked him how he felt, he said he was okay but not ready to play.
“If the medical staff says so [he can play against Norwich] and John says so but I will be careful because I have the experience with these kind of injuries where someone thinks they’re fine but the demands of the game are different to training.
Southampton 1-2 Chelsea in pictures:
“I prefer to wait, especially in relation to the games we’ve got coming up. I talked to him and said ‘let’s take our time’ and it has nothing to do with the contract situation.
“Normally for hamstrings, it depends on the grade obviously, but normally it is longer than say an ankle injury. I have the experience maybe to wait even a game longer than everybody is saying.
“It’s very tight [for the PSG game]. If he needs a game maybe we will organise a game in Cobham with intensity.”
Hiddink was delighted with the fighting spirit shown by Chelsea as they recovered to beat Southampton.
He has restored stability to the club after the fireworks at the end of Jose Mourinho’s reign and the Dutchman says both the players and fans have now got renewed belief.
Hiddink added: “They were disappointed about half the season and what was going on with the performances.
2The crowd is allowed to react in the way they did in the first two games [after Mourinho’s departure] but that’s why I’m convinced the team had to react.
“We talked about it. The team must try to get the support of the crowd again. You cannot ask the crowd not to think about the bad results, the team must show the desire and the crowd supported again.”