ROBERTO Martinez admits he breathed a huge sigh of relief after discovering Ben Watson will be out of action for “weeks rather than months”.
The Latics midfielder broke his leg at Liverpool on Saturday, after coming off second best in a mid-air collision with England new-boy Raheem Sterling.
Watson spent the weekend in the Royal Liverpool Hospital, where he saw a specialist to determine the extent of the fracture.
Thankfully the break was a clean one and he does not require surgery – which would potentially have ruled him out for the rest of the season.
“It’s very, very positive news about Ben,” Martinez said.
“Straight after the game we were very concerned about how serious the injury might be, and the fact he may need surgery.
“Obviously if surgery had been required, it would have been a lengthy and complicated recovery.
“Thankfully, everything has gone the way we wanted with regards the way we’d like to treat it, which is conservatively.
“Ben has his full leg in plaster, and the specialist is confident he’ll be able to make a full recovery relatively quickly.
“Obviously we’ll miss Ben while he’s out, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been and that is great news.”
Martinez also believes the possibility of being back in training early in the New Year will ensure Watson’s spirits will remain positive over the coming weeks.
“Ben is fine,” the Wigan boss added. “He is a very positive man by nature and, although he was obviously devastated when it happened, he realises he’ll be back very soon.
“We’ll do everything we can to help him do that, and to work on certain aspects of his game that will benefit him when he returns.
“There will still be nearly half the season remaining when he does come back, and hopefully Ben will be able to get back to his best form for when it matters most.”
Martinez remains hopeful that James McArthur – who has missed the last three matches with a dead leg – will be fit for Saturday’s visit of newly-promoted Reading.
“It was a nasty injury that James suffered, and his recovery time is still ongoing,” Martinez said.
“He’s not ready yet to rejoin the group, and we’re going to continue to assess him this week to see how he develops.
Skipper Gary Caldwell will also be assessed after picking up a hamstring strain in the second half at Anfield.