Roberto Martinez hopes Wigan's injured midfielder Ben Watson could be back in action by the start of February.
Watson broke his leg in the Latics' 3-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday after a collision with Raheem Sterling.
And manager Martinez, who had said on Monday that the former Crystal Palace player will not require surgery, hopes the 27-year-old will be available for the last three months of the season.
He told the Wigan Evening Post: "After the plaster comes off in the New Year, you're then looking at a block of about three or four weeks to get the full fitness back, which is around the beginning of February."
Martinez has branded the home game against Reading on Saturday "massive" as Wigan look to return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats to West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool.
Reading recorded their first league win of the season against Everton on Saturday and a second successive victory would see them leapfrog Martinez's men.
"It's a massive game, because all of your home games in the Premier League come into that category," he said.
"They will be coming here on a massive high after beating Everton, and will be full of confidence because of that.
"We are coming in after two defeats, but we are at home and we have to be prepared to perform as well as we can. It's a game where we can't afford to be below our best."