Hibs defender Darren McGregor edging nearer to return

Darren McGregor underwent knee surgery in September
Darren McGregor underwent knee surgery in September
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Hibs defender Darren McGregor is closing in on a return to action having resumed full training with Neil Lennon’s squad.

The 31-year-old has missed the Easter Road outfit’s last 12 matches after suffering a knee injury during the 1-1 draw with Dundee at Dens Park at the end of August.

Although it was initially hoped the then upcoming international break to accommodate Scotland’s World Cup qualifying matches against Lithuania and Malta would allow him to recover, McGregor was diagnosed as having torn the meniscus in his left knee.

An operation was required to repair the damage with the prognosis being he could be sidelined for between six and ten weeks, McGregor’s recovery being such he held out what transpired to be the optimistic hope of being back for the first Edinburgh derby of the season at the end of last month, which was “bang on” the lower end of that timescale.

McGregor rejoined his team-mates for a couple of sessions at East Mains last week but has since stepped up his workload although Lennon, given the former St Mirren player suffered two anterior cruciate ligament tears which put him out of action for the best part of two years, insisted he wouldn’t be rushed.

While tomorrow’s match against Hamilton will be considered too soon, particularly given the synthetic pitch at the SuperSeal Stadium, McGregor could well be eyeing next weekend’s trip to face Partick Thistle at Firhill. A return in the near future for McGregor will be welcomed by Lennon, who has also seen Steven Whittaker back on the training ground following a three-match absence.

The Hibs boss is still waiting for midfielder Danny Swanson as he continues to recover from the knee injury which has put him out of Hibs’ last three games while Liam Fontaine has been seen out running at East Mains, the defender having suffered a serious ankle injury during an outing with the club’s Under-20 side.

Fontaine spent the second half of last season out having had a ligament come away from the bone and has again required surgery after sustaining exactly the same injury in his other ankle, his appearances so far this season limited to two Betfred Cup ties, the last of which was against Arbroath at the end of July.