The 26-year-old centre half dropped off the first-team radar after finding himself unable to train because of the pain caused by a “Cyclops Legion” which formed as a complication from surgery on a torn cruciate ligament sustained in May 2012.
Now, The Bolton News understands Wheater will be back in action in a month and finally clear to resume a career that has stalled since signing a new three-year deal in the summer.
Wheater made seven appearances at the start of the season but struggled to find his top form because of problems with his knee.
Dougie Freedman said in November he was taking him out of the first-team equation and putting together a new training regime to help improve his fitness.
But the Whites boss revealed on Wednesday night that Wheater had gone under the surgeon’s knife after suffering a setback.
“He was struggling again,” he said.
“He had a relapse of his knee problem but had a clear out and won’t be back in training for a couple of weeks.”
It is also understood that Tyrone Mears has joined the injured list – ruling him out of contention for a return to first team action for the foreseeable future.
Freedman admits both players’ absence heighten the need for defensive reinforcements as soon as possible.
“The so called big squad we have - we only have four defenders in the building,” he said.
“It is not doom and gloom because I can work some magic in the transfer market as I shown before. But it is getting to a situation where it is quite tight with the defence.”