Jan Kirchhoff will have to wait for his return to the Sunderland side, with David Moyes revealing he is not yet ready.
The German midfielder returned to full training with the rest of the Sunderland squad this week, including a surprise appearance at the open training session on Monday.
But Moyes insists he will be taking no risks with Kirchhoff and says he needs more time before he returns to the Sunderland squad ahead of the Premier League game against Everton at Goodison Park tomorrow (KO 3pm).
The Scot will reassess Kirchhoff again next week, with Sunderland hosting title-chasing Manchester City at the Stadium of Light a week on Sunday.
Moyes, speaking at his pre-match press conference, said: "Kirchhoff has been training this week but he's not ready to play and he needs more time.
"We'll see how he is next week."
Kirchhoff didn't travel with the rest of the squad to New York City during the break after the Southampton defeat, instead staying on Wearside to continue his rehabilitation after suffering a cartilage tear in his knee in December.
Speaking earlier this week, Kirchhoff said: "It’s tough to be out because during you rehab you have to train on your own, so it’s good to be with the team again.
"I used last week as the next phase of my rehab schedule because I needed team training, so I worked with the Under-23s instead of travelling to New York.
"It was better for my personal development if I stayed here and trained, and it was good for me as I’m now back with the team and I hope I can play my role and help the club," added Kirchhoff, who had two spells out with hamstring trouble earlier in the season.
Kirchhoff was one of the key figures in last season’s battle for survival.
Having signed an 18-month deal when he arrived last January, Kirchhoff is out of contract in the summer,with Moyes already confirming all contract talks are on hold until the club’s Premier League fate is known.