CHRIS WOOD is no longer injured but still won’t play for Leeds United against Bolton because “the element of risk is high.”
Wood has missed United’s last six games with a fresh hamstring injury but was said to be nearing a return last weekend with head coach Steve Evans describing the forward as “mean, lean and keen.”
However, speaking at this morning’s Thorp Arch press conference, Evans revealed that Leeds United’s medical staff have advised him to keep Wood on the sidelines, until at least Tuesday night’s trip to Cardiff.
Asked if Chris Wood was still technically injured, Evans admitted: “No he’s not and you will see him in the next week or so.
“He’s in this building, he’s in this building more than he has ever been before, every day, long hours.
“But just because he’s looking in incredible shape doesn’t mean he will score a goal but it gives himself a better chance to be in a position to score a goal.
“He looks incredibly fit, he is incredibly fit, and his body is more like the guy who we saw at Leicester City scoring all the goals.
“We miss Chris Wood and we severely want to get him back.
“Of course, I’d love to go down the stairs and say ‘if you are sprinting and turning and shooting and finishing then you are available for selection.’
“But if I do there’s no point in having a head of medical, and we have a superb guy that controls our physiotherapy department down there with people supporting him, and they tell me the element of risk is high.
“I have been without Chris Wood more than I have had him since I’ve been here, he’s so important to what we are trying to do and at this minute in time we don’t have another Chris Wood in the building.
“So I have to make sure when we bring him back that while we will never ever take all of the risk away, we minimise the risk of not having him.”
Pondering a date for Wood’s return, Evans reasoned: “Chris is possibly going to be available for Cardiff.
“We are taking a whole raft of medical opinions here and Chris had some testing last night which has gone well.
“That’s more scientific and more robotic and more computerised then running on the grass but he’s sprinting, he’s twisting, he’s turning.
“But we are also having to consider the weather conditions that makes soft tissue muscle injuries a real concern.
“When you look at the situation with Chris Wood, we are just at touching point to having him back and we have missed our talisman more than people know.”
Doubts also surround the availability of Scott Wooton who has an abscess on the back of his heel.
Giuseppe Bellusci, though, returns from a two-match suspension while Stuart Dallas is also back from injury.