Caley Thistle manager John Robertson insists he is not prepared to take any chances over the condition of midfielder Angus Beith.
Former Hearts player Beith has yet to feature for Inverness since joining from the Jambos in the summer, having missed pre-season due to hip and thigh injuries.
Although the 22-year-old was close to making a comeback in a North of Scotland Cup tie against Forres Mechanics last month, Beith has continued to feel pain in his thigh and Robertson does not want to take any unnecessary risks on the Edinburgh-born player, who signed a three-year contract with Caley Jags.
Robertson said: “Angus has had another setback. We got him to about a week before the North of Scotland Cup semi-final. He was very near ready to go but he strained a thigh.
“That has not settled down. The physio has tried different anti-inflammatories and painkillers, and it has still not quite worked.
“We have looked at another route. Unfortunately after surgery, you are not sure how the area is going to settle down.
“The latest we have got from the specialist is a different type of treatment. It’s annoying because he was within a week of playing. He got a thigh injury which has flared up and affected the surgery aspect.
“I know it sounds crazy but he is actually fit. Because of the surgery on his hip he is not pain-free, and until then it is impossible to play him in matches.
“While it’s frustrating for us, and hugely frustrating for the player, the whole point of this is to get him right.
“We are talking about a young lad’s career here. We must make sure we get him back, and psychologically get him back in a good frame so he knows there will be no pain when he gets playing.”
Robertson is confident Beith can challenge for a place in his starting line-up once his recovery is complete, and he added: “It’s a different kind of frustration for him. We have spoken to players such as Charlie Trafford, Jamie McCart and Riccardo Calder who have been waiting patiently. We are a small squad and injuries and suspensions will kick in at some stage.
“They will come in and play their part. Once they are in the team, the key is to stay in the team. It will be the same with Angus when he eventually gets fit.”