Ryan Stevenson could play for Hearts in 3-4 weeks

Gary Locke watches as Ryan Stevenson is taken off injured 'against Hibs. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Gary Locke watches as Ryan Stevenson is taken off injured 'against Hibs. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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HEARTS today reported encouraging progress with injured midfielder Ryan Stevenson as he recovers from a torn medial ligament. Manager Gary Locke is hopeful that the player could return to action in three to four weeks depending on how his knee responds once the brace is removed.

That is due to happen within the next week and Stevenson can then begin rehabilitation work to strengthen muscles around the injury. Provided the knee is strong enough, he can then return to training with the permission of Hearts’ medical staff.

The 29-year-old sustained the injury in a tackle by Hibs’ Rowan Vine in last month’s Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle. He instantly had a leg brace fitted and was told he could be out for up to 12 weeks. Hearts are hopeful of having him back around the middle of October.

“He’s improving all the time,” Locke told the Evening News. “The physios said five weeks in the brace so he’s only got a week to go. From speaking to him, I don’t think he’s the best patient in the world. He tells me he’s a quick healer. As soon as we get the brace off, we’ll have a better idea. Then we will know how far away he’ll be once he starts moving the leg again. He had to keep the brace on for five weeks and then they’ll assess how his knee is. It will depend how quickly he can get on with his rehab. Hopefully his knee will feel fine and everything is okay and we can crack on with him. Obviously, if he takes it off and starts running and gets a setback then he might have to rest it longer.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we might have him back in maybe three or four weeks. I don’t want to put a strict timescale on it because I’m not the physio. I’ve spoken to Ryan most days to encourage him to keep his spirits up. He’s quite a bubbly boy and he says he’s feeling good. If we get him back then we’ll have everybody fit, so we’re cautiously optimistic.”