QPR manager Chris Ramsey says he will not rush Rio Ferdinand's return following the death of his wife.
Ramsey praised defender Ferdinand, 36, for how he had conducted himself since Rebecca Ellison died from cancer.
"We are not going to push anything. There are things that are greater than your job," said Ramsey.
"Hopefully he can bring his family through this in the professional way that he has handled himself at a very difficult time."
'People will have to be realistic'
Second-bottom QPR travel to Manchester City on Sunday (13:30 BST) knowing defeat will will relegate them from the Premier League to the Championship.
They could already be down by then if the sides immediately above them - Sunderland, Hull, Leicester, Newcastle and Aston Villa - win their respective games on Saturday.
Ramsey said it would be "difficult" for the club if they do go down as they are entering a "rebuilding phase".
He added: "If the season was to end up negatively, I think it would be important that everybody around realises that in order for the club to have long-term stability, there is going to be a rebuilding period.
"People will have to be realistic about how long that is going to take.
"Having said that, everybody would want to bounce straight back into the Premier League and I am sure that's what we're going to try and do."
'I am hoping to stay at the helm'
When asked about his own position at the club, 53-year-old Ramsey could not confirm whether he would still be in charge next season.
"We have had discussions before, but nothing has been set in stone at the moment," he said.
"A decision is going to be made at the end of the season, but I am hoping it will be me at the helm. We have not put pen to paper yet."
Ramsey said that the QPR squad is down to the "bare bones" for the City game.
In addition to the absent Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora, Steven Caulker, Clint Hill and Mauricio Isla are all doubts, while Nedum Onuoha, Eduardo Vargas and Alejandro Faurlin are unavailable through injury.