Jake Cooper was ready and willing to play for Millwall at Blackburn last night – despite suffering a dislocated shoulder at the weekend.
The Lions centre-back had played every minute of the club’s last 136 league fixtures – a run stretching more than three years – but missed out at Ewood Park.
Cooper did the injury in Saturday’s stalemate at Birmingham City but stayed on.
Millwall manager Gary Rowett says the former Reading man is likely to need surgery but there is a chance that could be postponed until the end of the campaign.
Cooper underwent scans at the start of this week.
Rowett said: “The general thought and feeling from the two consultations and everyone who we’ve spoken to is to try and collate as much information as we can and make informed decisions.
“Generally it was felt he shouldn’t play straight away. His shoulder is swollen and there is a small inury in there as well.
“At some point he’s probably going to have an operation and realistically you’re looking at the end of the season, if all goes to plan. That would hopefully take him up to pre-season and not the start of next season
“It’s quite standard procedure. People redislocate their shoulder three, four or five times – it gets pinned and it’s good as new.
“The question now is when do we put him back out there and keep our fingers crossed that he gets through? There is a good chance he gets through and a good chance he redislocates it. That’s just the risk with this type of injury. The initial thing is to let it settle down, a bit like with Mahlon [Romeo] to give us the best chance when dealing with it.
“There is no real timescale, the ideal time is three to four weeks [rest]. Coops wants to play. The great thing about Coops is he is like ‘I don’t care’. He wanted to play last night. He wants to play Saturday. He wants to play every game. It shows that he is a top, top professional.
“He’s almost saying ‘if it dislocates, I don’t care – I’ll put it back in and keep playing’. I don’t think many people would be over-excited about doing that. He’s a tough lad.
“If we give the swelling a chance to go down he can do more gym work and strength work, then there’s a better chance of him getting through to the end of the season.
“I’m sat here now and Scott Malone is unavailable against Derby as well. I’m writing the team down and at the moment Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is playing right-back and Tom Bradshaw is playing left-back. I might have a lot more strikers on the pitch than what we intended to have!”
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