The striker has had his campaign curtailed by anterior cruciate ligament damage, and according to Wednesday - Winnall's parent club - dialogue is ongoing between the two teams regarding his rehabilitation.
Winnall's admission that he will miss 'the rest of the season and beyond' suggests his next appearance could be in blue and white rather than all white, with no option for a permanent transfer understood to have been included in the 27-year-old's loan contract.
The ups and downs or football ay?! Unfortunately I have torn my ACL and will be missing for the rest of the season and beyond. I had my op yesterday evening and everything went very well. Obviously I am devastated but I know I’ve got the right family, friends and girlfriend to get me through this and come out the other side stronger ❤️ I’d like to personally thank @dcfcofficial on how amazing they have treated me through this process. Everyone from the chairman, manager, backroom staff, players and especially the medical department have been fantastic with me and I will be forever grateful for the support they have given me and I know I’m in the right hands to get me back for playing as soon as possible I’m sure I’ll be back scoring tap ins very soon! But until then I will be working my nuts off to get back playing! Sam x
However, some Derby supporters are hopeful that a full-time deal can still be arranged for the on-loan star - who scored six goals in 18 Rams outings.
Here is how both sets of fans have reacted to news of Winnall's lay-off on Twitter...
So sorry to hear that Sam. You've been great for Derby, and contributed brilliantly to our season so far. Would love to see you in a Derby shirt again in the near future. Still gonna sing the chant. All the best for a speedy recovery!— Julie King (@juliek1712) 9 February 2018
You haven't been at #dcfc long Sam but we would love to see you back playing for us again....once a Ram always a Ram!!— Mick Yates (@ymick60) 9 February 2018
All the best Sam, steer WELL clear of the @swfc medical room though!— mark hollins (@Markhollins) 9 February 2018
Gutted Sam! Come back stronger and get them fired in at hillsborough!— Liam Rodgers (@RodgersSwfc) 9 February 2018
We better not have seen the last of you in a Derby shirt.— adam (@xSmithYAD) 9 February 2018
Gutted about this— Grant Sutcliffe (@GrantSutcliffe) 9 February 2018
Hope rehab goes well and your back out there soon.
Hopefully we sign you permanent and you score a goal on your come back in the premier league ⚽️
Get well soon and see you back at Hillsborough.— Pricey (@PriceySWFC) 9 February 2018
Hope to see you back at Derby next season Sam, all the best for the recovery and thanks for giving your all for the Rams.— Rob Wilcockson (@Rob_BowWow) 9 February 2018
Sounds like his recuperation is being overseen by derby. Reckon the deal is already in place to make it permanent myself.— Daz (@Bobbydazzler29) 9 February 2018
You did more than Butterfield did in one game mate, speedy recovery and I'll never forget that goal at Ipswich #rightbehindit— Tricky (@richtheram) 9 February 2018
Come back stronger.. Hope Derby sign you regardless of injury .. Top player— Frandanski (@mark_frandanski) 9 February 2018
Get well soon Sam, hopefully you come back firing back at Wednesday and we can challenge next season.— Mike Bartlett (@13Mikeyb) 9 February 2018
Get back to Hillsborough soon and good luck with the recover of the ACL WAWAW ⚪️⚪️— Chris (@ChrisSwfc118) 9 February 2018
Get well soon.We miss you at hillsborough!⚽️— Swfc.fan (@Swfcfan4) 9 February 2018
Hope you have a speedy recovery Sammy and come back to Wednesday and carry on scoring goals we should have never let you go! ⚪⚪— Stace Mason (@StaceOwlWTID) 9 February 2018
Hope to see you back at hillsborough nxt season pal, speedy recovery— SteBayne (@stebayne) 9 February 2018
Genuinely gutted to hear that. I hope you recover soon and come back to derby.— Ali Ack (@Hitthegymhard) 9 February 2018
Don't know what happened with you and the club but the fans want you back in blue and white. #wawaw— Metts (@mettam71) 9 February 2018
Get well soon Sam. Sheffield Wednesday miss you.— Nicholas Petrie (@nicholas_swfc) 9 February 2018
Does that mean we can send butterflied back.— Neilreggiehunt (@neilreggiehunt) 9 February 2018
All the best in the recovery mate, damn well hope to see back in the blue and white of wednesday asap.— James (@EagleJagOwl) 9 February 2018
Swift recovery fella, I still cling to a hope you'll come back to @swfc and build on that partnership we saw glimmers of with Rhodes— Andrew Gardner (@AndyJGard) 9 February 2018
Winnall moved to Derby on a season-long loan from Sheffield Wednesday in August - a move which saw Rams midfielder Jacob Butterfield head in the opposite direction to Hillsborough.
As is made clear by the above tweets, however, Butterfield is not quite as popular as the former Barnsley striker on either side of the Peak District.
Does Winnall's future lie at Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, or somewhere else?