Hearts defender John Souttar could return to action in August with his recovery from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon weeks ahead of schedule.
The 20-year-old suffered the damage against Celtic in January and was told he would be sidelined until October. He is now targeting a comeback in late August or early September.
Souttar is back running and keen to progress his rehabilitation after five months out. He has done extra gym work and visited a Thai therapist to accelerate his recovery – which seems to be working.
“The surgeon initially said October originally but it keeps coming further and further forward because of how well the rehab is going. There’s been no reaction so just now we’re looking at around August/September. I’m just doing everything I possibly can to get back quickly,” said Souttar.
“I’m working hard in the gym, doing extra, going to a Thai therapist to keep me mobile. I do that to keep myself fit and I work with the physio every day. I want to come back stronger.
“The injury is getting there. It’s been a long one. It’s a difficult one to rehab, there’s been a lot of stopping and starting. I’m back running now so there’s a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re in a gym every day and you can’t run, you’re on the bike, it’s tough mentally. Now I’m back running I can see a wee glimmer of hope.”
Souttar has been strongly advised by Hearts director of football Craig Levein – who endured knee injuries as a player – not to rush any comeback. “The key for me is don’t push it. That’s what everyone at the club says,” continued Souttar.
“Craig had bad injuries when he was my age so he’s always telling me not to push it and take my time to recover well. I’m still young, I’m only 20 so I’ve still got a lot of time ahead of me. It’s important I make sure my Achilles is as good as it can be for when I come back.”
Asked if he would be back in time for the scheduled opening of Tynecastle’s new main stand on September 9, Souttar replied: “That would be a realistic one, I think. Hopefully I will be back for that.”