Hibs boss Neil Lennon has admitted Scotland midfielder John McGinn faces up to eight weeks out of action, with an operation on his ankle injury “inevitable”.
McGinn has been playing through the pain barrier, suffering from calcified bone on his left ankle which, Lennon revealed, is causing him a further problem in his right knee as he puts more weight on it in a bid to compensate. Lennon, however, has been delighted with McGinn’s determination to continue playing but conceded it was just a matter of how long the 22-year-old can continue to play.
He said: “It’s a case of managing John. It’s inevitable that he’s going to need surgery. It’s just how long he can go on. He has certain levels of discomfort at the minute but, if you looked at his performance at the weekend, you couldn’t tell. He was unbelievable. He carried the game for us at every opportunity. He was a real driving force.”
Lennon declined to speculate on just when McGinn may undergo surgery but said it will be the player’s decision, insisting there is no alternative remedy. But he did admit the former St Mirren star will be out for “six to eight weeks” afterwards, adding: “It’s something I don’t want to rush into, but it will depend on how John is feeling. “The problem he has is with his left ankle but every now and then he is getting a bit of fluid in the right knee because he is putting a lot of weight on that to compensate. I’m not speculating on when he’s going to go in. It will be John’s decision at the end of the day, fully supported by us. It depends on how much pain or discomfort he is in – not just after games but during the week as well. There is going to be a cut-off point when he’ll say ‘look gaffer, I can’t’. He’s such an important player for the team but unfortunately this is an issue that needs to be taken care of because it’s not going to get any better.”
Meanwhile, Lennon has conceded Hibs will find it difficult to open contract talks with players until the Easter Road club knows whether it will be playing Premiership or Championship football next season.
Hibs have 13 players whose deals expire at the end of the season including skipper David Gray, Fraser Fyvie, Liam Fontaine, Darren McGregor, Lewis Stevenson, James Keatings, Marvin Bartley and Martin Boyle but, as yet, no discussions have commenced.
Lennon said: “It is difficult when you do not know what league you will be playing in next season. You don’t want players to become unsettled, but it’s always going to be at the back of their minds. We’ll speak to one or two going forward but are we going to be playing in the Premiership or the Championship next season? Some players might not want to play in the Championship next season.
“We haven’t opened up discussion with any player as yet as it is important, and the lads are aware, that they just have to concentrate on winning games at the minute. The majority of the players are enjoying their stay here and enjoying what we are trying to do. They like the club and we do have an eye on the contract situation. There are one or two I would like to tie down on longer-term deals, but we haven’t opened up negotiations just yet.”