Harry Redknapp says he will protect Rafael van der Vaart in order to protect the Tottenham forward from sustaining a significant injury.
The Holland international has struggled with a persistent hamstring problem this term, and was forced to miss last weekend's win against West Brom.
Van der Vaart was available for selection once again on Saturday as Spurs beat Bolton 3-0 at White Hart Lane to further reinforce their title credentials.
The 28-year-old, though, was required only from the bench as goals from Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe condemned the Trotters to yet another defeat.
And, says Redknapp, his decision not to start van der Vaart was tempered by both the potent recent form of Defoe, and not to rush the former back into action too quickly.
"He's disappointed, obviously, but he took it okay," said the Spurs boss.
"It was a hard decision. I just felt the little man (Defoe) is on fire so I stuck with him.
"I like Rafa, he's a great player, a good pro, but he keeps getting hamstrings.
"You've just got to be careful he doesn't tear it and we lose him for six weeks."
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