Butler was hit with a high tackle in the sixth minute on Saturday (December 11) by Millwall’s Dan McNamara. He limped back on to the field to try and continue but was eventually forced off to be replaced by 21-year-old Joe Tomlinson.
The club are still waiting to find out the extent of the injury, but they suspect that there is some kind of ligament damage, having already ruled out any kind of fracture. Sending the full back for a scan has had to be delayed until the swelling reduces and Ferguson has said he expects to know a timeframe for his recovery at the end of this week or early next week.
He said: “He’s a very lucky boy. Nine times out of ten, that would have been a broken ankle or leg. He was in a lot of pain yesterday and after the game but he’s a lot better today.
“He’s going to be out for a period of time and we have to wait for the swelling to go down before we can get him a scan. That will tell us a lot more, there’s no fracture, we’ve already checked that but whether there’s ligament damage and how severe it is, we will find out. We won’t know probably until the end of the week or next week how long it’s going to be.”
The injury to Butler is set to see Tomlinson get a prolonged run in the side and he made a good start by impressing fans with his remarkable ability to take set-pieces with quality and with both of his feet.
Ferguson was similarly impressed with his summer signing. He added: “For him, it’s given him confidence. We signed him at the start of the season, we were fully aware of what his strengths were. He actually played the first game, not in has favourite position I have to say, but at the time I had a lot of injures.
“We do think his best position is left back but he can also play right back. What he gave on Saturday was a fantastic performance. Started a little bit nervy but grew into the game and ended up being a real factor in us winning the game.
“He put them under real pressure from set plays, which is something that had to be improved. The quality and the aggression haven’t been there but on Saturday, both defensively and attacking-wise, we looked more of a threat. He takes them with both feet, which is a rarity in the game these days and he’s overall technique is very, very good. Overall, I couldn’t have been happier with his performance.
“If he gets a run in the team now, that’s up to him but I was delighted with the boy.”