A torn hamstring has sidelined Hearts midfielder Larry Kingston for up to two months, leaving manager Csaba Laszlo again lamenting long-haul flights taken by his players for meaningless international friendly matches.
Kingston was stretchered off with the injury minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute against St Mirren at Tynecastle last week. Scans have confirmed a hamstring tear with a projected recovery period of six to eight weeks.
Laszlo believes the root of the problem can be traced to the Ghanaian's international commitments. He flew to Egypt to represent his country in a friendly on February 11 and did not participate in Hearts' league victory over Aberdeen three days later. Against St Mirren, he pulled up during his first involvement in the fray as he pursued a through ball.
Laszlo can recall similar circumstances surrounding David Obua's injury problems earlier this season and is less than pleased that international commitments are hindering Hearts' pursuit of European football.
"Larry was in Egypt for five days in temperatures of around 30 degrees. Now he comes back and immediately he is injured," said the manager. "During a football game you have physical and psychological aspects and together these produced an injury for Larry. This is normal, I have had this experience before. You saw what happened with David Obua.
"I am a little bit worried about the injury for Larry. I said before that football is not only training, maybe some people in Scotland will believe me now. Football is psychologically a very important thing and this is true if you go to play for your national team. You travel thousands of miles and the temperature is different.
"Now, with Larry, we must be careful. We have a duty to the player but he must be careful with this. I like Larry Kingston, he came back from a long injury and fought his way back into the team and I can only hope he will be okay quickly.
"The news isn't good. He has torn his hamstring and this is disappointing for the player and the club. He has had a number of injury problems this season and this is another setback for him.
"I'm told we are looking at six to eight weeks out so if Larry works hard he could be back playing an important role for the team in the last few games of the season."
Thankfully for Laszlo, Kingston's latest setback will preclude him from Ghana's forthcoming World Cup qualifier against Benin.