Hearts defender John Souttar will report to Riccarton for pre-season training on Thursday hoping rest has cured his niggling hip injury.
Medical staff decided not to send the centre-back for summer surgery but his recovery will only be known once he begins training. Souttar, 21, missed the final two games of last season with the complaint and Hearts feared he may need an operation. Pain has subsided during the close season and he is expected to start the club’s pre-season programme with team-mates this week.
Manager Craig Levein admitted the extent of Souttar’s problem will only be fully revealed when he is rigorously tested in training.
“I haven’t spoken to John because I’ve just left him to recover. He was settling down last time I spoke to the physio. I’m hoping he’ll be okay when we resume training,” Levein said.
“We aren’t going to know how it will react until he starts doing the more strenuous work.
“He had a little bit of scarring on his hip, which we think is an old scar. Without going in and doing an exploratory operation, we aren’t going to know for sure.
“We will find out when he starts doing the hard work, but fingers crossed that’s what it is – an old problem. We’re hoping he just damaged his hip muscle and it wasn’t anything to do with this scarring.
“He is back in with the rest of the players on Thursday and we will take it from there.”