John Terry was only cleared on Tuesday afternoon to play for Chelsea in their Capital One Cup thrashing of Wolves, assistant boss Eddie Newton revealed.
Newton insisted after the Blues' 6-0 win at Stamford Bridge that manager Roberto Di Matteo always intended to pick his captain for the third-round clash. But Newton admitted it was not certain he would be able to do until Terry was allowed home on the second day of his Football Association racism hearing.
The defender left Wembley at 1.15pm on Tuesday and asked when the final decision over his involvement had been taken, Newton said: "This afternoon."
Newton denied Terry had specifically asked to be involved but added: "We wanted John to start. Obviously, with everything happening with the FA, we had to see how it panned out.
"We had a phone call (saying) he was making his way back from the FA nice and early, so it wasn't last minute. We'd covered all the bases, all the scenarios, and the best one happened."
Newton was pleased with the display from a much-changed side - even Fernando Torres scored, probably to the striker's relief.
But Newton said: "Relief isn't the word, to be honest. Nando's positive. We're always talking with him and he's very positive. He's feeling a lot sharper. The goals will come. We all believe that. You can't expect it to be a flood all of a sudden."
Wolves boss Stale Solbakken made 10 changes in defiance of new Football League rules that demand their clubs play a strong team in the competitions.
Sanctions for a breach do not come into effect until next season and Solbakken said: "Next year is next year. It's my least problem this year. You can ask me this time next year.
Solbakken's priority is getting Wolves back in the Barclays Premier League and he added: "If we beat Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, I'll be fine. The fans will understand. That's why I put the squad out early on the website yesterday."