Antolin Alcaraz is ready to use the experience of his injury "nightmare" to help Everton teammate John Stones cope with a long spell on the sidelines.
England defender Stones faces between 10 and 14 weeks out after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury sustained during last Sunday's 2-1 Premier League defeat at Manchester United.
The injury to Stones, coupled with doubts over the fitness of Sylvain Distin, could give Alcaraz the chance of a run in the centre of Everton's defence after a difficult start to his career at Goodison Park.
Alcaraz, 32, has made just eight appearances for the club since his move from Wigan in the summer of 2013, having been plagued with groin trouble and muscle fatigue during his first season on Merseyside.
The Paraguay international became so frustrated that, in May, he likened the experience of his injury absence to being in prison -- but he feels he can help Stones, 20, pull through his setback.
Alcaraz told Everton's official website: "It's difficult. I know myself from spending most of last year with the physio and it's not a nice place to be as a player. We have to help him on the road to recovery because he is a young guy and this is his first big injury.
"John has done a really great job since I came to the club last season. He has surprised me for someone so young because he is a really talented guy and I think he started this year really strongly.
"It's disappointing for him to get an injury, especially when he is in such a good moment of form. It's really frustrating for him as a young player to get a serious injury.
"But he has he has a great future in front of him and he has to come back stronger from the injury."
Alcaraz had to wait until December 2013 to make his Everton debut after injury problems flared up during his first preseason campaign with the club.
That came after an injury-hit final season with Wigan, when a groin problem sustained in September 2012 kept him out until the following February, and a torn hamstring then forced him to miss a chunk of that season's run-in as the club were relegated from the Premier League.
But Alcaraz -- whose only appearance this season was in the 3-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Swansea on Sep. 23 -- has been working in training to prove to manager Roberto Martinez that he is ready to step up.
He told the Liverpool Echo: "It's just good to be at this point because last year was a nightmare. It's good to be able to push my body to its limits again and feel it react normally.
"I feel positive. Now it's a case of getting better every day. It's been a mental process as well as the actual physical recovery. It's about staying strong and keeping going. If you're not strong in your mind, then it's difficult.
"Sometimes you're down, but you just have to carry on."