The 29-year-old Australia striker, who took a knock in Saturday’s victory over St Mirren and limped off early in the second half, travelled to Manchester yesterday to consult with a specialist after a scan on his badly bruised knee threw up an anomaly.
And, with just three weeks until he was expected to turn out for Australia at Qatar 2022, his World Cup dream is teetering on the brink, with his Hibs manager sharing his concern for the talismanic player.
It had been hoped that it was a minor nick of the meniscus and the player who has had to fight back from serious knee injuries in the past would be back in time to play on the world stage.
But the results of the scan have warranted further meetings with a specialist and a consultant in Manchester to review the findings and come to a firm diagnosis..The final prognosis is not expected until tomorrow as all parties decide on the best form of treatment.
“Rather than being central in the knee it is more like the junction, like the meniscus area,” Johnson explained.
“It was Nohan Kenneh who actually went in for the tackle and Martin tried to skip away with the ball but Nohan bundled on him so there’s bruising where there was contact but there was also that snap of bone on bone as they hit each other.
“At the back of that [knee] area there is a bit of something else showing on the scan, although it is not presenting that way so it could be something that has potentially been there from the past.
“If you look at him walking and bouncing around then he seems like he is in a good place but that is why we have sent him to the specialist.
“Actually an Australian medical professional is also accompanying him with our physios.”
The uncertainty has left Boyle, his Hibs manager Lee Johnson and his Australia counterpart Graham Arnold sweating on the outcome, although the Leith gaffer insists that while there is cause to be worried, there remains hope that there will be a positive outcome and that the player who has scored five times and weighed in with an assist in his 12 league games this season will still make the World Cup and return to play a key role in Hibs’ battle for third spot.
“He is in a good place and seems to be moving well although the scan is showing something. That gives us a lot of hope but at the same time we are waiting on an expert opinion.
“The candle is still burning. Like I said, we are hopeful but it is still 50-50 until we get a firm prognosis.
“Of course we hope he is okay for the World Cup. If he has to miss that, well, that's something you wouldn't wish on anybody. But I won't apologise for my first thoughts being Hibs because he is a very, very good player for us and will be sorely missed if he is not in the team.”