Steven Naismith is doubtful for Hearts’ Premiership match against Motherwell on Saturday after a scan showed minor irritation to his hamstring.
He will be assessed this week but manager Craig Levein pledged not to risk the talismanic 32-year-old unnecessarily.
Naismith returned to Riccarton on Tuesday after a tight hamstring precluded him from Scotland’s European Championship qualifiers against Russia and Belgium. A scan last week revealed fluid in the area and that prevented him earning a 50th Scotland cap and Hall of Fame place.
He remained with Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad before rejoining his club, who face a critical game this weekend as they try to move away from the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Levein explained to the Evening News that Naismith is feeling better but must pass a number of tests on the injury before he can be cleared to face Motherwell.
“He trained on the second or third day after joining up with Scotland and he felt tight. We got a scan done and it showed minor irritation. There was a bit of fluid around the tendon so we erred on the side of caution,” said Levein.
“We sent the scans to the Scotland staff and I phoned Steve, who wanted to keep Naisy with the group for his experience. I agreed to that and he is now back with us getting some treatment. Whether he makes the weekend, I’m not 100 per cent sure.
“The injury is nothing significant. He isn’t feeling the hamstring at the moment but to get him on the field we need to do a fair bit of work to make sure he is robust enough. The last thing I want to do is play him and have to take him off after 15 or 20 minutes.
“We will just follow the normal recovery procedure for the injury. If he doesn’t make this weekend, I’d be very confident he will make the following week.”