John Souttar is expected to need surgery on his Achilles once results of a scan are received, according to the Hearts manager Daniel Stendel.
The defender’s season is over after a suspected rupture of his Achilles tendon suffered against Rangers on Saturday.
Having been stretchered off after only 16 minutes of that match, Souttar must now prepare for an operation and several months of rehabilitation.
"He was getting a scan and then we will decide on surgery and when. I think he will need surgery. It is the worst for him, for the club and for the team,” admitted Stendel.
“Some situations you cannot influence. We hope he comes back in the summer stronger than before. He cannot help us on the pitch but I think he will help us in the changing-room with his attitude.”
Souttar missed five months of the current campaign after an ankle injury last August left him requiring major surgery. He returned in January but is now facing another lengthy enforced absence.
Stendel explained that the Scotland internationalist can still have an influence on the rest of Hearts’ season. “We missed him for a long time before but the feeling when he was on the pitch and in the changing room was a big impact for the team.
“I hope he is back in the changing room soon. I think it is good for the atmosphere and the mentality of the team.”