Middlesbrough will not rush striker Cristhian Stuani back to first-team action on his return from international duty, says head coach Aitor Karanka.
Stuani, 29, was called up by Uruguay in the most recent round of fixtures despite not featuring for Boro since the 2-0 defeat by Reading on 3 October.
He was injured while representing his country against Colombia last month.
"It's not fair for a player to have been out two weeks to play tomorrow [against QPR]," Karanka told BBC Tees.
"[It would mean] another player who has been training with us for two weeks has to be on the bench. It's not a problem how big the player is, it's about the team.
"The player who plays will be ready and deserve more than [Cristhian] Stuani to play because he has been with us for the past two weeks."
Karanka would not criticise the Uruguay national team, but expressed his confusion as to why Stuani had been brought into the side for the Ecuador and Chile games when he had been out injured.
"I know from Cristhian the same as you," Karanka added.
"He didn't play yesterday and he didn't play on Friday, because we don't know anything more, when he was here we were in contact with the Uruguayan FA and sent them every single thing.
"However when I started the press conference I didn't know anything about what he did but I think he was fit because he was on the bench. I can't imagine he's not fit.
"I need to know whether he can at least be on the bench."