Ruben Loftus-Cheek has returned to parent club Chelsea for treatment on a persistent injury, though Roy Hodgson insists that Crystal Palace are not contemplating an early termination of his loan to potentially free up the space to secure another temporary signing before Wednesday's (31 January) 11pm GMT transfer deadline.
The 22-year-old, who moved to Selhurst Park on a season-long arrangement in July, has not featured for Palace since playing 70 minutes of the 3-2 home defeat by Arsenal on 28 December due to a lingering ankle tendon issue that was initially only expected to keep him sidelined for a couple of matches.
However, Loftus-Cheek has now missed more than one month of action and Hodgson admitted earlier in January that the injury, said to be more severe than first thought, had not responded to conservative treatment and could yet require surgery that may jeopardise the World Cup hopes of a player who earned his first senior England caps under Gareth Southgate in November.
Providing a fresh update during a press conference held before Tuesday's [30 December] Premier League London derby against West Ham United, the Eagles boss confirmed that Chelsea had "insisted on having him back there on this period of rehabilitation" and that there had been an agreement that Loftus-Cheek would "spend two-to-three weeks without having any surgical intervention, in the hope that naturally the problem he has will be resolved".
Hodgson indicated that process was currently one week in and that he had " literally" not seen the midfielder for 10 days.
However, while the 70-year-old is not expecting to be able to say anything more about Loftus-Cheek's recovery for another fortnight, he did rule out any chance of cancelling his loan before tomorrow's deadline.
Premier League clubs are limited to a maximum of two loanees from a rival English sides at any one time and Palace also currently have Timothy Fosu-Mensah on a season-long deal from Manchester United. The versatile young Dutch defender has started nine of the last 10 matches across all competitions.
"We do not have anybody lined up we want to loan that would even encourage us to send Ruben Loftus-Cheek back," Hodgson said, per the Croydon Advertiser.
"Secondly, we are optimistic that many of us are in the club from the chairman downwards, we still think he might recovery from this injury quicker than has initially been suggested. We want him with us at an important time of the season to help us win game to help us stay in the league.
"There has not been a question of us sending him back. The questions have been around the treatment and where the treatment should take place. That is something that goes on between the medical departments and is bound by the contract we signed with Chelsea."
Having already signed Polish centre-back Jaroslaw Jach and Swedish midfielder Erdal Rakip from Zaglebie Lubin and Benfica respectively this month, Palace look set for a particularly busy end to the January window.
A new striker appears top of the agenda amid talks with Preston North End over Jordan Hugill and multiple bids for FC Midtjylland's Alexander Sorloth, while Palace are still on the trail of Lille defender Ibrahim Amadou and Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita. Winger Chung-Yong Lee is also likely to rejoin Bolton Wanderers on loan.