Wigan midfielder Ben Watson could be back in training within six weeks despite suffering a fractured shin in the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool.
The 27-year-old will not need surgery after breaking his leg in an innocuous clash with Reds winger Raheem Sterling.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez said: "It is not as bad as it could have been."
Watson, who spent two nights at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, has now returned home to begin his recovery and will wear a cast for a few weeks.
The club are optimistic he will be able to resume training in the new year.
Martinez added: "It's still a very serious injury and we need to ensure that Ben is given all the time that he needs to make a full recovery.
"The good news is that he won't be out for as long as we initially thought and, with the character that Ben has, he will be able to deal with such an injury."
Former England Under-21 international Watson collapsed to the Anfield turf clutching his right leg shortly after the half-hour mark of Saturday's Premier League match.
But he waved away the help of a stretcher and limped off with the support of Wigan medical staff.
Watson, who joined from Crystal Palace in a £2m deal almost four years ago, had been in and out of the side this season but had started the last three Premier League games.
Martinez said: "Ben has just started to put his stamp on the team and he will be missed in the group because of the type of lad he is."