Hearts captain Craig Gordon will miss the rest of the season after suffering a double leg break in the 2-2 draw with Dundee United on Christmas Eve.
The 39-year-old had surgery on a fibula and tibia break following an accidental collision with United forward Steven Fletcher during the game at Tannadice.
The Scotland number one was replaced by Zander Clark before Lawrence Shankland’s late penalty secured a point for the visitors.
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson praised his former teammate as a “warrior” and confirmed the stopper would not be back before the end of the campaign.
Gordon turns 40 on December 31, with the injury raising fears over his future in the game.
But Neilson said the club was “focussing on his wellbeing” rather than the potential impact on his squad.
“Our thoughts first and foremost are with Craig and his young family. It’s been an incredibly distressing time for them, especially at Christmas, and everyone at the club is here to offer them our full support,” he said.
“It is obviously massive blow to lose a player as influential as Craig for the rest of the season but to be honest, all anyone is thinking of right now is about his wellbeing.
“I’ve known Craig for a long, long time and he’s a warrior. He’s faced injury adversity before and come back stronger, so I’ve no doubt that he’ll approach this in the same manner.”
Clark will likely remain in goal for the trip to St Johnstone on Wednesday and the visit of city rivals Hibs in the Edinburgh derby on January 2 over third-choice Ross Stewart.
Neilson also praised medics at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee where Gordon went under the knife.
“For now, it’s about rest and recuperation. There is no pressure on him as he’ll get the best medical care and rehabilitation facilities possible at Hearts,” he said.
“I’d also like to thank our medical team and the NHS Scotland staff at Ninewells for giving Craig the best possible care in what was a challenging situation.”