Hearts players Jamie Walker and David Smith are stepping up their rehabilitation from injury and may have an outside chance of making the Edinburgh derby at the end of this month.
The pair were due to begin light running at Riccarton this morning as they recover from a broken metatarsal and a hairline knee fracture respectively. With Hearts due to host Hibs at Tynecastle on Sunday, March 30, their return would be a timely boost for manager Gary Locke.
There is no exact timescale for Walker and Smith resuming first-team action, but both could be in contention for the derby provided they don’t suffer any setbacks between now and then. Medical staff predicted a ten-week recovery for Walker when he sustained his injury in mid-January, with Smith given around six weeks from mid-February.
“We’re hoping they don’t get any reaction to the running, although they won’t be doing a lot in any case. It’s just to get them back jogging,” Locke told the Evening News. “They’re still a fair bit away but the good thing is they’re getting into the running. They did some work on the bike yesterday so now we’ll get them into the running over the next few days and see how they react.
“We’ll get a better idea of Jamie’s foot in particular. Our physio has just dealt with Jason Holt’s broken metatarsal so that will probably help Jamie a bit. In my day, you never heard of a metatarsal, but I think it’s all these modern boots.
“Hopefully we’ll have them both back sooner rather than later because they can be important players for us between now and the end of the season.”