Mick McCarthy has admitted he has "probably asked too much" of George Elokobi, reports the Birmingham Mail. The Cameroonian has been a virtual ever-present for Wolves in the top flight this season, despite missing last season due to career-threatening knee surgery.
Elokobi was dropped for the first time in last weekend's 4-1 defeat to Arsenal but played for the reserves last night. McCarthy said: "We've probably asked too much of George.
"He came back from nine months out and Stephen Ward got injured after one game and he's played eight Premier League matches. It was a bit much for him. I was having a discussion with the surgeon on Monday who operated on my ankle and we were on about players coming back from injury.
"We were on about George because he operated on him and he said the fact that he's back playing now is remarkable.
"Very often it's the following season because no-one has had to come back from an operation like that.
"Players get back, but you're never 100 per cent straight away and yet George has been brilliant, fantastic." McCarthy insists Elokobi has merely been rested. "I wanted to give him a break," he said.
"It's been unfortunate - we lost Ward and Matt Hill has been injured as well - but I've been delighted with George for lots of things.
"He gives his lot and he defends really well, but it's just that little ten per cent or whatever it is that you can't get back straight away that he's looking for. But the only way you get it back is by playing."