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Watson injury not as bad as first feared

Wigan midfielder Ben Watson could return to training early in the New Year after scans revealed his broken leg does not require surgery.

• Sterling sympathy for Watson

Watson, 27, fractured his shin in an accidental clash with Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling during Saturday's 3-0 Premier League defeat at Anfield.

The former Crystal Palace man feared he would be out for the rest of the season after being carried off in agony. However, manager Roberto Martinez is optimistic that Watson will be back much sooner.

"It's not as bad as it could have been, that's for certain," Martinez told Wigan's official website. "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.

"Ben has just started put his stamp on the team and he will be missed in the group because of the type of lad he is."

Watson is currently recovering at home after spending two nights at Royal Liverpool Hospital, and he will wear a cast on his leg as he begins his recovery.

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