Wigan Athletic boss Gary Caldwell admits he’s at a loss to explain the mystery ankle problem that is threatening to wreck Reece James’ season.
James has been absent for almost two months, his last outing coming in Latics’ 3-1 victory over Chesterfield on January 16, in which he scored his first goal for the club.
Since then he’s cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines as Latics have climbed up to second place in the League One table.
With no imminent sign of a solution to James’ injury nightmare, Latics were forced into the loan market this week to bring in ex-England left-back Stephen Warnock from Derby for the rest of the season.
Caldwell hasn’t given up hope of getting James back before too long – as soon as the medical staff have got to the bottom of the problem.
“We’re still unsure as to what the problem is,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“He’s had a treatment of injections, and we’ll wait and see how it goes. Nobody’s 100 per cent sure how he’s going to react, and how the injection will take.
“It could be two or three weeks, but it could be a lot longer.”
James, who joined Latics last summer from Manchester United, featured in 26 of Wigan’s first 27 league games.
Caldwell even suggested before Christmas that James was Wigan’s player of the year up to that point, such was the consistency of his displays.
“It’s a real blow for both Reece and the club, because he’s been one of our key players this year,” added Caldwell. “He’d played pretty much every week before his injury problems started.”
Caldwell is also staying positive as he awaits the results of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s head scan, after the 40-year-old suffered a bang to the head against Peterborough on Saturday.
“We’ll obviously follow the concussion protocol, but I’m hoping he’ll be fine for the weekend,” added Caldwell.