Ange Postecoglou has confirmed Rodrigo Bentancur will be sidelined for "at least two months", and says he is "gutted" for the Uruguayan and would loved to have seen him line-up with Yves Bissouma against Manchester City this weekend.
Bentancur suffered torn ankle ligaments after a rash challenge by Matty Cash in Tottenham's 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday, his first club start in nine months following ACL surgery back in February.
"The biggest emotion you have is for him," Postecoglou said Friday.
"From the moment I arrived, I think my first day I bumped into him, he was just that determined to get back.
"He had his own timelines in his head and he kept banging on my door about being involved.
"We held back because obviously with such a significant [ACL] injury you want to make sure they're ready.
"He'd done everything right. He had a good international break where he got back playing for his country and he started the [Villa] game so well.
"With all that context you're just gutted for him because of the person he is and what he's gone through.
"But that's unfortunately the challenges football sometimes throws up at you.
"He's still such a positive guy. I caught up with him yesterday and he's just determined to crack on and get back as quickly as possible. And I can't wait to get him back in because you saw his quality.
"If it was me I'd be a hell of a lot grumpier around the place. He's got a really positive outlook. He knows that he's been through a tough time and now he's got to go through a shorter tough time but he also knows that, and he felt it when he was out there [against Villa], that he hasn't lost anything as a footballer.
"That's the important thing. I think that's given him the incentive to be back as quickly as possible and again make an impact for us."
Spurs will again be without midfielders Pape Matar Sarr (hamstring) and James Maddison (ankle) at the Etihad but Yves Bissouma is available after serving a one-match ban against Villa.
Postecoglou added: "He [Bissouma] is such an important part of our set-up with the way he plays in that role and I would have loved to see him and Rodrigo in there. I had all these plans and they've just gone out the window!
"That is me speaking out loud, sorry! It is good to get Biss back."
Despite the list of absentees, Postecoglou has no plans to alter his attacking approach against the treble-winners and says Spurs have to stick to their plan to be successful long-term.
Asked if he was tempted to be more defensive this weekend, Postecoglou said: "If you had to take a punt what do you reckon I would say? Just a wild guess?
"And I don't want to be flippant about it and I get the question but I don't do what I do to try to prove a point. You look at the top teams and there is one common trait amongst them.
"They all have a plan, they invest in that plan and stick to it. They don't shy away from it at the first difficulty.
"If you look at City, Arsenal, Liverpool, all the teams that have dominated in recent years, they have a plan and stick to it.
"And you have to because whatever you believe in, whatever you strongly believe in as a person only gets tested in the toughest of times. It doesn't get tested when things are going well and for me these are the important times because this will show what kind of football team we want to be. "
He continued: "You can sort of shy away, say we have injuries, we're playing Man City away but you're either going to be a club that tries to knock off the big clubs or you are a big club. You are one or the other. My hope and my ambition for this club is to make it a big club and to do that you have to be successful and win things.
"To win things you have to have a plan, stick to it and believe in it and be prepared that during the tough times when you get scrutinised and invariably people will ask questions, which is fair enough because that's what needs to happen.
"Again, it is the only way you can test yourself.
"There is no point everyone saying you're brilliant, that's not a good way to live your life. The best way to keep challenging yourself is when people challenge you so you need to be prepared for that and take that. You need to show some backbone through that time and that's what I believe.
"So that is my methodology. I am not going there to show people, 'watch me, I'll take them on,' it is because I think that is the way forward for us."