HEARTS head coach Craig Levein insists Arnaud Djoum can take inspiration from John Souttar in his recovery from a snapped Achilles tendon.
Djoum is expected to be out for up to eight months after sustaining the horrific injury midway through the first-half in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ross County.
The Cameroon internationalist crumpled to the turf with no-one near him and was taken off on a stretcher in obvious distress.
The 28-year-old, who has had two separate spells on the sidelines with injury this season, will now undergo surgery before embarking on a lengthy rehabilitation programme.
However, he does not have far to look for encouragement, with team-mate Souttar having made a speedy comeback from the same injury last year.
The defender ruptured his Achilles against Celtic last January but was back playing competitively within six months.
Levein said: “I was disappointed we were in a winning position and lost two points. But that’s nothing compared to the disappointment I’ve got for Arnaud.
“He’s just back from injury, he’s had a tough time of it, and as much as I’m disappointed because he’s a very good player, I really feel for the boy as well – he’s had enough to contend with.
“The tendon was obviously weakened at some point and he’s just planted his foot and it’s snapped.”
Levein added to BBC Scotland: “A similar thing happened to John Souttar, just over a year ago, and he’s returned in great condition and got himself back to full fitness and the top of his game.
“So, I’m hoping Arnaud can do the same.”
Meanwhile, Hearts will run the rule over trialist striker Ghislain Guessan in Tuesday’s under-20s match against Dundee United.
The Paris-born 25-year-old, who has been capped by the Ivory Coast under-20s, joined the Gorgie outfit for training last week and took in Saturday’s draw with Ross County in Dingwall.
The former Nantes and Padova trainee played with Viking Stavanger in Norway last year and Levein is expected to make a decision on whether to offer a deal after watching the 6’2’’ marksman in action.