Hearts defender Jamie Brandon is due to resume training this week 11 months since his last first-team appearance. He has been out with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament but is poised to start training again alongside the first-team squad at Riccarton.
The 20-year-old last played for Hearts competitively in December 2017 against Aberdeen at Pittodrie. Ironically, he suffered the knee injury in a Development League match against Aberdeen Under-20s in February and spent the intervening period recovering.
Hearts medical staff have put him through a long rehabilitation programme aimed at strengthening the muscles in his knee and he is now ready to return. The news was welcomed today by manager Craig Levein, whose squad will reconvene at Riccarton on Friday after some time off.
“Jamie should be back training this week. He is getting there. I’m pleased for him because he has had a tough time,” Levein told the Evening News.
Fellow full-back Marcus Godinho returned from knee surgery against Aberdeen last month but Levein explained he is taking things slowly. We rushed Marcus back for that one match but his training has been modified so that he isn’t pushed too hard and then breaks down again. He doesn’t train every day, which will be the case until he gets fully up to speed.”
Having Brandon and Godinho available again is an added bonus for Levein on top of news that Christophe Berra and Steven Naismith could make their returns before Christmas.
Berra hopes to play against Rangers early next month after a hamstring injury which sidelined him in August. Naismith’s knee complaint means he will be a week or two later but could be back in maroon before the year is out.
Levein explained that he has given players time off to recuperate over the international break and hopes they return refreshed.
“We are doing what we normally do, which is give the boys some time off,” he said.
“We will get back together again on Friday, train over the weekend and get back into a normal week again to prepare for St Mirren a week on Saturday.”