HEARTS boss Gary Locke has been rocked after Ryan Stevenson was ruled out for at least four weeks.
This Saturday against Inverness begins a spell of nine games in six weeks which could define Hearts’ season and Locke was eager to have Stevenson available.
But the forward – who could miss six weeks of action – is nursing a hamstring problem.
Locke said: “It’s a massive blow for us, and for Ryan. He pulled up during the Dundee United match last Saturday so we decided to send him for a scan to get to the bottom of it. We had a niggling feeling that it was something serious, and that was confirmed when the results came back.
“There’s a tear on his hamstring so he’ll miss the next four to six weeks, which is less than ideal. It’s a shame for Ryan as he’s not long returned from a long spell out.
“One good thing though is that the lad is a quick healer, so hopefully he gets a bit of rest and then we can manage his return.”
Meanwhile, Danny Wilson is expected to be available to face Inverness after injury. Locke told the Hearts website: “It’s a wee problem Danny’s had for a couple of weeks now. His shins were flaring up so we decided it was best to get him a scan. Fortunately, while it’s not brilliant news, it’s certainly better than we anticipated.
“We just have to manage him through the week and wrap him up in cotton wool to make sure he’s okay for the games on Saturday. He is obviously happy because it could have been a lot worse. It’s not ideal but the good thing is we can manage it and we can get him out on the pitch on a Saturday, which is the most important thing.”