Craig Halkett's recovery timeline explained as the Hearts defender returns at Riccarton
Hearts defender Craig Halkett returned to the Riccarton training pitches today as he continues making progress from cruciate ligament damage. The 27-year-old will not be back in match action any time soon, however, and still remains several months away from donning a maroon shirt again.
Halkett was back running this morning for the first time since suffering the knee injury against Dundee United at Tannadice Park on Christmas Eve. It is a notable landmark in the player’s recovery timeline and one which is sure to help his morale. He remains on schedule to play again around early autumn, provided everything continues going to plan.
Team-mates Liam Boyce and Beni Baningime also suffered ACL injuries earlier last year and are both hopeful of being fit to start pre-season with Hearts in June. Halkett is unlikely to be ready at that point and will be given the necessary time and support to ensure he recovers fully.
Hearts have missed his influence and physical presence in central defence, conceding a number of goals from set-pieces lately. A commanding figure at the back, he will hope to return early next season and play his part in the campaign.
Toby Sibbick and Kye Rowles are the current first-choice centre-backs for the Edinburgh club. They have started together in all five matches under interim manager Steven Naismith, who replaced the outgoing Robbie Neilson last month. The on-loan Bournemouth player James Hill has featured at right-back, whilst young centre-back Lewis Neilson has been watching from the sidelines so far.