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Feb 7, 2013

Defoe out for up to three weeks

Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe is set to be out for up to three weeks after suffering ankle ligament damage in the 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.

• Blog: Can Adebayor offer consistency?

With Emmanuel Adebayor away at the African Nations Cup, Andre Villas-Boas started Defoe at The Hawthorns, but the England striker limped out of the game with ankle trouble.

The head coach told a press conference that he will be "back in two to three weeks".

"Defoe has small ligament damage," he added. "It's good news in the end because it could have been further damage to his ankle. We are happy with the result in the end."

With youngster Harry Kane the only other specialist striker on the books at White Hart Lane, Villas-Boas had previously accepted that Spurs had taken a "big risk" in not adding to their attacking options in January, but the news that Defoe will be out for a maximum of three weeks - rather than the two months feared - offers some cause for optimism.

There is also hope that Adebayor, whose Togo side exited the African Nations Cup at the quarter-final stage on Sunday, will be available to face Newcastle United on Saturday.

Villas-Boas said the club was still "trying to establish the best flight connections for him" on Thursday morning but said he was expected back in training by Friday, and that he would "probably" start against Newcastle, adding: "We don't have any news regarding injuries from him, so he's going to be selected, for sure."

Spurs are likely to use Clint Dempsey or Gareth Bale at centre-forward should Adebayor not be available, and Villas-Boas believes the way he changed things around at The Hawthorns shows that Dempsey can be called upon to be a lead striker.

"We tried it the other day against West Brom," he said. "It worked fine for him. Then with Defoe's injury, we went to playing Lewis [Holtby] in a playmaker role behind the striker so we had great success between the two formations during the season so there is a possibility that we continue with the 4-4-2 with Gareth as a striker. Plus Dempsey has been playing there all of the season. We still have good options."

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