HEARTS captain Alim Ozturk is out for four weeks after undergoing a second hernia operation. He had surgery after consulting a specialist in Bradford on Wednesday and is not expected to play again until mid-November.
The 22-year-old centre-back had a hernia operation during the summer but medics decided another one was necessary to cure persistent pain in the area. He must now spend the next month recuperating, which is a blow to the Edinburgh club. He is expected to miss league matches against Dundee United, Ross County, Partick Thistle and Hamilton, plus the League Cup tie with Celtic later this month.
Ozturk has not featured in Hearts’ last two games and was left out of the squad for last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock. He has been forced to miss training sessions because of the discomfort, hence the decision to send him south to diagnose the exact problem.
Hearts have no fixture this weekend due to the international break but head coach Robbie Neilson is already preparing to be without some key players next week against Dundee United. Right-back Callum Paterson and striker Gavin Reilly are both suspended, whilst Dutch forward Soufian El Hassnaoui is still recovering from a knee ligament injury.
Ozturk’s absence will merely compound Neilson’s selection problems. The Turk has made ten appearances in total, scoring two goals, in his first season as captain of the Edinburgh club. He will now hope to recover quickly and return to the team ahead of the crucial winter period.