Derby manager Nigel Clough has told Miles Addison not to rush his rehabilitation as he prepares to be without the defender for the whole of next season.
The 21-year-old has returned to the UK after undergoing surgery on a foot problem in America last month.
The injury had troubled him for some time but the operation has been deemed a success and Addison should be able to play free of discomfort when he gets back on the pitch.
But it will be a long road to recovery and Clough has assured the youngster there is no need to hurry and risk suffering a setback.
The Rams boss is more concerned about Addison's long-term fitness and is looking forward to welcoming him back into the fold in 2011.
"We have pretty much written him off for next season, and if he does come back early it would be March or April time," Clough told the club's official website.
"The fact he is out for a while is a small price to pay for Miles if he can play injury-free for the next 10 years.
"He is a determined character and he is fully focused on doing his rehab properly.
"There is no pressure on him to get back next season; we don't have a set target for him.
"If he comes back next season then lovely, but if not then we're telling him not to worry."