MATT Crooks climbed off his sickbed and pushed himself to the point of exhaustion to help Rotherham United climb the League One table.
The brave midfielder managed to last until just past the hour-mark in last Saturday's 2-1 win over Blackpool before succumbing to a combination of illness and injury at Bloomfield Road.
The 25-year-old failed to hit the heights of his two-goal performance in the 4-0 triumph over Coventry City a week earlier and afterwards manager Paul Warne revealed why.
"He has been ill for a couple of days before Blackpool and didn't feel a million dollars," the boss said.
"He was just at the end of his physical tether. He'd had the trots and had been a bit poorly, then he had a crack on his ankle.
"In the end, physically he couldn't give any more, and that's fair enough."
Rotherham moved up three places to tenth by beating the Seasiders and are now only two points away from the play-off spots, with at least one game in hand on nearly all the teams above them, after recording back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.
Warne, who hopes to see striker Kyle Vassell back in action shortly following hamstring trouble, is tipping Crooks to recover in time for this Saturday's clash with Oxford United at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
"He should be all right," the manager said.
Meanwhile, summer signing Adam Thompson was due to resume training this week after recovering from a leg injury sustained in training.
"He feels pain now only when he kicks the ball in a certain kind of way," Warne said. "All his running is fine and all his multi-directional stuff is fine too."
The centre-half has yet to make his Millers debut.
Warne has distanced himself from speculation that Barnsley want him as their next manager after parting company with Daniel Stendel.
"There has been no contact," he said. "I love my job here. I am not one of those who touts himself about. I don't have an agent, I don't have someone throwing my name around.
"I am happy doing my job here for as long as they want me to. As soon as they don't want me, every job looks amazing!
"But I mean this sincerely: at this moment, I am enjoying it here so I have no reason to look elsewhere."
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