BOSS Eddie Howe lauded Tommy Elphick’s leadership and defensive qualities and admitted Cherries would miss their crocked skipper.

The influential central defender was the victim of a horror tackle from Ryan Lowe during the first half of Cherries’ 3-0 win at MK Dons on Saturday.

Cherries initially feared the former Brighton star would be ruled out long term due to potential knee damage sustained in the X-rated challenge.

However, a scan on Monday revealed Elphick had escaped serious injury and had suffered bruising to the tibia and femur.

Elphick later revealed via social networking website Twitter that both Lowe and Dons boss Karl Robinson had contacted him to apologise and pass on their best wishes.

Cherries manager Howe told the Daily Echo: “The scan came back with good news. But, like with any injury, we will still be cautious until he is back fit with us. I think that is the right way to view it.

“Tommy is still in a bit of pain and there is a bit of swelling in the knee. The scan says he has come through clear but, until he is back fit, we won’t know.”

Cherries confirmed that the linchpin centre-half was set to spend about two to three weeks on the sidelines as a result of Lowe’s wild lunge.

Despite the news being received as largely positive, Elphick could still miss Cherries’ forthcoming League One clashes against Portsmouth, Crewe, Preston and Sheffield United.

Prior to being forced off in Saturday’s clash, the 25-year-old had played every minute of every game since Howe’s appointment.

Elphick, who has captained the team in Miles Addison’s absence, is also Cherries’ leading appearance-maker this season with 33 starts.

Howe said: “Tommy has been excellent. He has been a model of consistency for us and has led the team very well.

“He has showed a great mentality to his training and he sets a really good example for the rest of the lads to follow.

“Not only that, he has performed very well in the games and has been a very consistent performer. We have been delighted with Tommy and are certainly going to miss him.”

Meanwhile, Howe confirmed Cherries would continue to monitor the fitness of Charlie Daniels. The left-back has missed the club’s past two matches with a persistent foot problem.

Daniels, whose place has been filled by Dan Seaborne and Matt Ritchie, has scored four goals and provided three assists in 31 appearances this season.