Hearts expect to be without defender Christophe Berra for another six to eight weeks as he recovers from an Achilles injury.
He has missed almost all of the club’s pre-season training programme after suffering a minor tear on the tendon in August.
Although he could be back running in the next two to three weeks, the 34-year-old must then work to regain fitness before he can play matches.
Hearts are preparing to start their season without him and may not see him in action until around late November.
“Christophe should be back running in about two or three weeks but he has obviously missed all of pre-season,” explained manager Robbie Neilson.
“It will probably take him about another six weeks to get up to full speed I would think. It's been a tough one for the big man.
“It's not a serious injury, it's just taking a bit longer than usual to get back to normal. He has nicked his Achilles a wee bit but it's not a big issue.
“Unfortunately, an Achilles doesn't heal as quickly as the rest of your muscles so it's taking a wee bit longer than we'd hoped.”
Injuries to Berra and fellow centre-back John Souttar left Hearts short in that department, hence the recent signing of the Romanian Mihai Popescu.
He is expected to make his first appearance in maroon against Partick Thistle in a friendly on Friday.
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