Hearts: Christophe Berra back running, Loic Damour gets jag and Steven Naismith is fit

Hearts today reported mixed news on player injuries with Christophe Berra back running as Loic Damour received a foot injection.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 7:00 am
Hearts captain Steven Naismith and defender Christophe Berra at Riccarton.

Club captain Steven Naismith should be involved against Arbroath on Friday after being left as an unused substitute against Dundee last week.

Defender Berra is expected to rejoin first-team training sessions within the next two weeks after a tendon injury. He is doing running exercises at Riccarton and is due to intensify his programme soon.

Damour, the French midfielder, was given a jag on Monday to help a persistent heel complaint. Hearts medical staff are now waiting to see if the problem subsides and allows him to resume training.

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Manager Robbie Neilson told the Evening News that injuries did not disrupt his pre-season plans too much, other than John Souttar’s Achilles relapse, and he wants that to continue.

Naismith’s hamstring issue is being managed and he is expected to feature at Arbroath after sitting out the opening league win against Dundee.

“One of the main things for us is getting through this first batch of games and keeping the injuries down. We had a really good pre-season and managed to get through it with very few injuries,” explained Neilson.

“Dundee had [Jordan] Forster and [Osman] Sow taken off in the game on Friday night, Inverness have a lot of injuries, Arbroath have a few out as well.

“It's going to be difficult for everyone. For us to get through these games and win them with no injuries is great.”

Hearts beat Inverness, Cowdenbeath and Raith Rovers in their Betfred Cup group before opening the Championship with a 6-2 victory over Dundee at Tynecastle Park.

Neilson hopes his squad will get stronger with people coming back to full fitness, although Damour’s return date is still unknown at the moment.

“Christophe is back running and he's done quite a bit of that in the last week. I expect him to be back with the group in the next ten days or so,” said the manager.

“Naismith has been training with us and was on the bench on Friday. He's had this wee issue with his hamstring so we are just managing that. He will be available this Friday against Arbroath.

“Loic is still injured and got an injection in his foot on Monday to try and settle it down. We will see how it goes over the next week to ten days. If it does settle down, we can maybe get him back training again.

“He had an impingement at the back of his heel. It's something he has had for a long time and it's flared up just recently.”

Souttar remains Hearts’ only long-term absentee as he continues recovering from another ruptured Achilles. The Scotland internationalist is still in a protective boot at the moment, which is due to come off at the end of this month.

He is not expected to return to the first team until next spring after a long rehabilitation process. Hearts intend to give him as much time as is necessary.

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