Hearts defender John Souttar will undergo surgery after snapping his Achilles tendon, head coach Robbie Neilson has confirmed.
The 23-year-old ruptured his Achilles against Rangers in January, having previously spent nine months out with the same injury.
And he will now face a “lengthy time” off as he goes under the knife on Wednesday.
“We’re devastated for John,” Neilson told Hearts TV.
“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.”
Neilson is already looking to sign a replacement.
“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,” the head coach added.
The injury means Souttar, who has two Scotland caps, will not be named in head coach Steve Clarke’s squad this week for the upcoming Nations League fixtures.