Aston Villa were held to a goalless draw away to Reading on Saturday, the first 0-0 stalemate in Smith's tenure as Villa manager.
Tyrone Mings was given an immediate debut following his deadline-day move from Bournemouth, and impressed alongside Tommy Elphick at the heart of the Villans' defence.
Chester would have started, but Smith revealed to The Express and Star last month that the 30-year-old centre-back has been playing through the pain barrier due to a knee injury as of late.
Consequently, the Villa boss decided to rest his Welsh powerhouse on Saturday.
He told Aston Villa's official website: "He's not been training as much as he should or can because of a swell he's had on the knee.
"I thought I'd give him the weekend off and try and get him back to full fitness. Tyrone performed well in his absence. He played well with Tommy."
They got away with it on Saturday but, really, the sooner Chester is back, the better. Based on Mings's debut, it looks like he and Chester could form an excellent partnership.
Defence has been a big problem area for Smith since replacing Steve Bruce earlier this season. Finishing in the top six is by no means impossible, because they're only three places and four points adrift, but unless they start leaking significantly less goals then it'll be very, very difficult.
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