Demetri Mitchell will be sidelined for the “foreseeable future” after the Hearts midfielder suffered a recurrence of the knee injury that kept him out for part of last season.
A scan confirmed the on-loan Manchester United wideman had damaged the lateral meniscus in his knee during the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round win over Auchinleck Talbot last weekend.
The lateral and medial menisci act as shock absorbers around the joint and stabilise the knee.
Mitchell’s setback came just hours after versatile defender Michael Smith was ruled out for up to eight weeks after tearing a muscle and damaging a tendon during the same match.
Speaking late on Tuesday, Hearts boss Craig Levein discussed his options for cover in defence, adding: “We certainly don’t like seeing players injured, but we do have cover. “We have Marcus Godinho who can come in for Michael, and Jake Mulraney and Ben Garuccio who play in the same position as Demi, we have Bobby Burns as well.
“With Demi it was innocuous, it was his standing leg and it was just the way he twisted after he shot.”
In better news for the Tynecastle side on the injury front, influential midfielder Peter Haring is progressing well in his comeback from a double hernia operation.
Levein told the Evening News: “Peter has done a lot of training. He trained with the first team and did some extra stuff with the conditioning coaches the other day.
“I don’t think he’ll be ready for this weekend. It will more likely be the following week.”