Hearts manager Jim Jefferies has admitted that summer signing Kevin Kyle could be forced to miss the start of the season as he requires further surgery on his knee.
The experienced striker missed the club's pre-season training camp in Italy after suffering discomfort following his first week of sessions in the wake of the initial operation on his knee.
Jefferies is not overly concerned by the striker's injury, although the 29-year-old does require minor follow-up surgery.
Kyle is now expected to be sidelined for anywhere up to three weeks, but Jefferies claims that does not necessarily mean he will miss their season opener with St Johnstone.
"The mesh which keeps it (the knee) reinforced came away a wee bit so he needs a small operation to tighten that up," Jefferies told the club's official website.
"They thought they would get away with an injection so we're back to what we should have maybe done at the start.
"It's probably a two or three-week thing, so he might miss the start of the season.
"He'll be a miss for the start of the season but you never know.
"Even if I could get him handy for the bench if I needed him to come on, if he could not manage 90 minutes."