Millwall manager Gary Rowett fears that defender Jake Cooper could miss the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder.
Cooper was forced off during the early stages of the Lions’ win over Birmingham on Wednesday.
The Millwall centre-back had previously sustained damage to the same shoulder during their last clash at St Andrew’s back in November.
On that occasion, Cooper opted against having surgery on the issue, and therefore ended up missing just one league match – which ultimately ended his incredible run of consecutive minutes played in the Championship.
However, Lions boss Rowett has admitted that an operation is “likely” this time around, meaning the centre-back’s campaign could therefore be over.
Quiz: Did each of these 18 ex-Millwall players ever score a goal at the New Den?
“We think he has dislocated the shoulder but in a slightly different way,” Rowett told South London Press.
“He is seeing a specialist Friday and it looks very likely he’ll have an operation. If he does it would probably mean he is ruled out for the season. That’s me speculating – because he has damaged another part which had added a bit of stability and was okay before.
“There isn’t a lot of security or stability in the shoulder. The fabulous news would be that he hasn’t got to do it [have an op now]. We hoped we could get to the point where we didn’t need to have him available for the last three or four games – if we’d got enough points and weren’t fighting to get in the top six – that we could give him a headstart on his recovery.”
There’s no doubt this is hammer blow for Rowett.
Cooper has been one of Millwall’s most reliable players in the previous four seasons, not only in performance levels, but his ability to remain injury-free.
His absence means that with Murray Wallace also out injured, the likes of club captain Alex Pearce and January addition George Evans must step up to the plate.