Eye injury may rule Conor Washington out of Hearts’ league opener

Hearts new boy Conor Washington is facing a race against time to be fit for the club’s opening Premiership trip to Pittodrie.

Hearts striker Conor Washington could face two weeks on the sidelines. Picture: SNS

The former Sheffield United front man, who signed for the capital side last month, visited an eye specialist yesterday after he was hit in the face by the ball during Wednesday night’s Betfred Cup win over Stenhousemuir.

Forced to leave the field after an hour, with “quite a lot of blood, bruising and swelling on his eye”, 
manager Craig Levein revealed that the Northern Irishman had gone to hospital straight after the match so that the injury could 
be assessed. Washington, 
pictured, then returned to see an eye specialist yesterday.

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It is understood that there is no long-lasting damage but, in an untimely blow for the 27-year-old front man, who is still seeking his first Hearts goal, the club have been told that he will now need a 
period of rest and will miss tomorrow’s trip to New Bayview where his team-mates are gunning for a 
victory over East Fife that would guarantee them top spot in Group A and a place in the last 16.

The eight group winners and four best runners-up will be joined by Scotland’s 
European representatives, Celtic, Rangers, Kilmarnock and Aberdeen.

However, the bigger concern for Washington and the Gorgie club is the fact that he may also have to miss the start of the league campaign, 
with Hearts due to travel to Aberdeen on the opening day of the new season.

“We will have to see what happens but we have been told it may be two weeks before he can play again,” said Levein.

“Obviously, that would rule him out for the Aberdeen game.

“But it is still early days so we will see what happens but he has been unfortunate, the ball hit him bang in the face before he had a chance to 
protect himself.”