Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray says Seb Hines acted "beyond the call of duty" after he played on with a broken jaw in Tuesday's 3-3 draw with Ipswich.
The 22-year-old defender will undergo an operation on Wednesday to repair damage suffered in an accidental collision during the first half.
"Seb is a fantastic human being," Mowbray told BBC Tees.
"He went back onto the field with a broken jaw in two places, I'd like to think that's what centre-halves do."
Mowbray added: "Yet it's probably beyond the call of duty, I'm sure he'll be OK and the medical department will be looking after him.
"We'll get him back to the North East as soon as we can."
Hines was eventually replaced by Rhys Williams late in the first-half, and is likely to miss Saturday's visit of Barnsley to the Riverside.
Meanwhile injury to Merouane Zemmama was softened by the performance of teenage winger Andrew Halliday in Tuesday's stalemate.
The former Livingston player netted the Teessiders equaliser, and laid on the second for Scott McDonald after he was brought on to replace Zemmama early on in the first period.
"He's a great lad, a young boy, sometimes we forget how young," Mowbray said.
"In my period in charge it's been a big ask for Andy to come into the team and us to win football matches and get out of trouble for such a young guy.
"Yet tonight - a clinical finish and a brilliant ball, timing and weight of the pass for Scott McDonald's goal and he did himself a power of good tonight with his own belief that he can contribute.
"He showed me he's got a part to play and with Marvin Emnes' ban and Merouane suffering a hamstring we're going to need all hands to the pump over the next few weeks."