Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has said everyone at the club feels “devastated” by news that John Souttar has snapped his Achilles tendon again.
The 23-year-old is to undergo surgery after suffering a relapse of the injury that has kept him out of action since February.
Souttar previously suffered a ruptured Achilles in 2017 and the Scotland international also suffered a hip injury that saw him miss 14 games the following season.
Neilson said that he was hopeful that the player would return quickly from the latest setback.
“First and foremost we’re devastated for John,” he said. “His tendon is gone again so he’s going to go in for an operation on Wednesday and then we can just hopefully get him back as soon as we can.
“It’s been a real blow for both John and the club. Obviously having had it already and just coming back from it, it’s been a tough few days for him, but we’re here to help him.
“He’s got a good family around about him as well. We’ll get him the best care we can get him and hopefully he’ll come back as quickly as he can.
“John was going to be one of our key players when he got back fit but that wasn’t to be at this moment in time, so we have to recruit in that area.”