Wigan have failed to keep a clean sheet since the Paraguay international's last Premier League appearance in August but the manager is determined not to risk further damage
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is not prepared to risk the fitness of Antolin Alcaraz by thrusting him into first-team action too soon, despite his team's poor defensive record.
The defender has not featured for the Latics since August after picking up a groin injury on international duty with Paraguay and the club have failed to keep a clean sheet since.
Martinez's side visit Swansea City on Saturday, with Alcaraz nearing a return to action, but the manager is loath to rush the 30-year-old back before he is ready.
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"He's probably around five or six days ahead of where we thought he'd be at this stage, so in many ways we're pleased with that," the Spaniard told the Wigan Evening Post.
"But the important thing now is not to put too much pressure on him, because the last thing we need now is a reaction.
"Antolin has been progressing slowly, but it was a very bad area to get an injury and that has been shown with the length of time it has taken him to recover.
"The work has been slow but he will benefit a lot from what he has done over the last few weeks at the training ground.
"It's still hard to assess how long it will be before he is back out on the pitch but I don't think he is anywhere near to being in a pain-free level at the moment."