Wigan striker Henri Camara is targeting a return to action early in the new year.
Camara strained medial knee ligaments in Saturday's 1-0 home loss to Sheffield United, with the initial prognosis a six-week lay-off.
That would see the Senegal international back in contention by the end of January, but Camara is hoping he will be available before then.
'I picked up the injury 30 minutes into the game against Sheffield and tried to battle on,' said Camara, who is currently Wigan's top scorer with six goals.
'At half-time it was clear I couldn't continue, and now I've found out its strained ligaments. I'm hugely disappointed I'll be missing the games over Christmas, not just on a personal level, but because of contributing to the team.
'The most important thing now is to knuckle down with the recovery work and make sure I'm back early in the new year.
'The medical team here are first class and look after us really well, so I will be taking on board everything they ask me to do.
'I don't like missing games so I'm keen to get back on the field as soon as possible.'
With goals in short supply at present, in particular at the JJB Stadium where Wigan have failed to score in their last four, his absence comes as a huge loss to manager Paul Jewell.
'It's a blow because a club of our size needs its best players,' said Jewell ahead of tomorrow's visit of Chelsea.
'I'm sceptical to put a timescale on Henri's recovery because players recover at different rates. We were told Leighton Baines would be out for three weeks when he sustained a calf injury recently, yet he was back in six days.
'So Henri might be six weeks, four weeks, maybe longer. Whatever it is we have to get on with it. From adversity sometimes things pop up and hopefully one or two players can take their chance.'
Lee McCulloch would have stepped into the attack for Camara, but he begins a three-match suspension for punching Sheffield United captain Chris Morgan.
That means Svetoslav Todorov might be handed his first start for the Latics since arriving on loan from Portsmouth at the end of August.
The Bulgaria international has struggled with injuries during his time at Wigan, restricting him to just three substitute appearances, but he may now be afforded the chance to shine.
With champions Chelsea in town, though, and with Wigan having lost their last three home games, the entire team are up against it.
Current Premiership leaders Manchester United follow on Boxing Day at Old Trafford, ensuring Wigan face a daunting festive schedule.
'It can't be feared,' demanded Jewell. 'We have to look forward to it, and the fact we're playing Chelsea in front of a full house and on TV, should get the players fired up.
'We have to try to finish the year on a high note. It's been a great year, and although we face a tough end, we have to give it our best shot.'
After Jewell recently complained about low attendances, a sell-out is expected as the club reduced ticket prices for the game against Chelsea to £15 per person.