Hearts centre-half Jimmy Dunne is expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks with an ankle injury.
Tynecastle manager Craig Levein confirmed in his television interview ahead of Sunday’s match with Rangers that the on-loan Burnley defender will be out until the start of 2019.
He said: “We had him (Jimmy Dunne) scanned and unfortunately it looks like he is out for six weeks or so.
“It’s a training injury and it’s one of those things. It’s ankle ligaments.
“I was looking forward to getting Christophe (Berra) back to pair him alongside Jimmy (Dunne) at some point but obviously that’s not going to happen.”
The 21-year-old has impressed since joining from Turf Moor and his absence is another cruel blow for the Jambos, who already have John Souttar (hip), Uche Ikpeazu (foot) and Steven Naismith (knee) on the treatment table.
The news coincides with the return to fitness of centre-half and captain Christophe Berra, who returned to team for the Rangers match for the first time since August after tearing his hamstring.
Dunne’s loan spell in Gorgie expires in January, but a deal has been agreed in principle between Hearts and Burnley to extend until the end of the season.