ROTHERHAM United took off Chiedozie Ogbene in Saturday's win over Bolton Wanderers to save their flying winger from a potential injury.
The 24-year-old had put in an exhausting shift four days earlier at Lincoln City and was below his devastating best in the first half of the Millers' 2-0 League One win at the UniBol Stadium.
Manager Paul Warne chose to use the depth of his squad and make a half-time substitution rather than risk Ogbene pulling up lame.
"The GPS data showed he did something crazy like 1,400 high-intensity metres at Lincoln," the boss said. "I just didn't think he looked to go past anyone at Bolton.
"He never got above 80 per cent of his top speed so we knew there was a problem. He looked like he was holding himself. He was doing something for the team, don't get me wrong, but we don't have to carry anyone.
"If Michael Smith hadn't been playing well, I'd have had no worry in putting Josh Kayode on; if Richard Wood hadn't played well, Michael Ihiekwe would have gone on. Chieo isn't any different."
The wide man, who has been playing as a wing-back during Rotherham's rise into the play-off places, is expected to be fine for next weekend's home clash with Crewe Alexandra.
Wes Harding came on as a replacement and had an excellent game as Rotherham defended the two-goal advantage they'd built up by the 21st minute against a side that had started the day in third spot.
"At half-time Chieo said he could play on but I don't want players to play inside themselves if other players can go on and do a job," Warne said. "I thought Wes did well. He was unlucky not to be in the team from the start.
"Chieo wasn't injured. He did all those fast-speed metres on Tuesday night and just hadn't recovered in time. That is the thing with power athletes, they don't recover as quickly."
Meanwhile, Rotherham hope Freddie Ladapo will return to training before the visit of Crewe after fears that the striker's foot problem was a severe one were allayed.
The forward missed the trip to Bolton and Warne said: "We were a bit worried about it. The way he explained it to me, I thought he might have broken it.
"He went for a scan Thursday morning and it came back that he has a pocket of fluid under his foot. He's had an injection for that and it should settle down.
"We're hoping he'll be available to train towards the end of next week and be available for the weekend."
The Millers have Mickel Miller in contention again after a three-match ban and fellow winger Shane Ferguson could be back after a foot issue.
Centre-half Ihiekwe will be looking to make the team after on the bench for the Bolton match. He’d been absent from training in the build-up to the game because he was isolating after coming into contact with someone with Covid.
"Competition for places is quite intense," Warne said.