Hearts full-back Demetri Mitchell is out for eight weeks with a torn meniscus tendon - meaning he could have played his last game for the Edinburgh club.
The on-loan Manchester United player returned to Old Trafford to have his knee injury assessed and scans have confirmed the damage is much worse than initially thought. The meniscus tear will sideline him until May, by which time his Hearts loan will be due to expire as the Scottish season ends.
Mitchell missed the Tynecastle club’s Scottish Cup defeat by Motherwell on Sunday and travelled home to Manchester for United medical staff to look at the knee. He has been feeling pain in the area since sustaining a knock during Hearts’ draw at Ross County last month.
Hearts initially hoped he would be available to face Hibs at Easter Road this Friday, but the injury now leaves the 21-year-old fighting to play again this season. With Christophe Berra doubtful for the Edinburgh derby due to a head knock, plus Arnaud Djoum, Jamie Brandon and Rory Currie all long-term absentees, Mitchell’s absence is another blow to the Tynecastle manager Craig Levein.
The Englishman has been a standout performer at left-back since arriving on loan from United in January.