Hearts manager Craig Levein has provided an update on the status of injured striker – and it looks like good news for the Tynecastle club.

Naismith had a knee operation on Monday, and Levein believes the play can return before the end of the season.

“I think there’s a decent chance he’ll play again before the end of the season” he told the Edinburgh Evening News.

(photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

“So it will be a boost to have him back for the run in. I don’t know exactly when he’ll be back, but he did recover quickly the last time he was out.”

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

It will be a major boost for Hearts to have Naismith back before the end of the season. Particularly if Hearts reach the Scottish Cup final.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It seems too early for Naismith to be ready in time for next month’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness. It is better to take the time, and allow Naismith more recovery time.

Naturally, it is important that Naismith gets game time before the cup final, should Hearts get there. So Hearts have to be careful with his progress. Particularly when you consider that he has already suffered a previous knee injury this season.

But Naismith is such an important player to Hearts. He is still their top scorer, with 14 goals this season. If a gamble has to be made about his fitness and the cup final, it might be one that Hearts have to make.