Hearts' Kevin Kyle is pre-season doubt after operation
Hearts have confirmed that Kevin Kyle will miss the rest of the season after the striker underwent a hip operation.
And manager Jim Jefferies has concerns that the Scotland international will struggle to recover in time for pre-season training after the summer break.
"Kevin has had an operation to clean his hip out and we will wait and see when it settles down," said Jefferies.
"Fingers crossed, he makes a full recovery. Pre-season is the target for him now."
Kyle has not played for the Edinburgh side since January's Scottish Cup defeat by St Johnstone.
He had a series of injections to treat a problem in the groin and stomach region and had double hernia surgery last month but was still struggling to regain fitness.
And the 29-year-old had recently told BBC Scotland that his latest injection had raised some hopes of a recovery without surgery.
However, he himself predicted that an operation would be necessary and that it would signal the end his season.
Now Jefferies has told the Scottish Premier League club's website that, following further specialist advice, it was decided that a surgery was the best course of action.
While the manager and the player have targeted pre-season training, that is not a certainty.
"Whether he makes it or not, I don't know, as it's such a short break," added Jefferies.
"He may miss the early part of it, I don't know."
A hip injury hampered Kyle's early career in English football.