Hearts have revealed that Marius Zaliukas will require surgery if injections fail to rectify his ankle injury.
The Lithuanian defender has already been sidelined for three months with the niggling ailment, unable to make any headway in his rehabilitation.
He did, however, visit a specialist on Monday, with the area in question treated with an injection which will hopefully allow him to return to training before Christmas.
Manager Csaba Laszlo told Hearts News: "Marius saw a specialist in London on Monday.
"He got an injection and we hope in two or three weeks he will be better. This is the last thing we can try as, if it doesn't work, he will need an operation.
"We hope that the injection will work and that he will not require surgery."
Laszlo is also sweating on the fitness of Andrew Driver, with the winger having also visited a specialist earlier this week in order to gain a greater insight into his knee injury.
"The other big problem is Driver, who has a knee problem," he added.
"He is looking at four weeks out and this is not okay."