Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has confirmed Gareth Bale's back injury will almost certainly keep the Wales winger out of Tuesday's Champions League tie at AC Milan.
The 21-year-old has had a sparkling first half to the season - highlighted by a brilliant hat-trick in Spurs' 4-3 group-stage defeat to Inter Milan on their first trip to the San Siro - but is struggling for Tuesday with a back injury.
Asked whether Bale would feature against the Serie A leaders, Redknapp told Sky Sports News: "No. He's struggling, to be truthful. I'd like to be able to scare Milan a bit and say he's going to be available but he's struggling to get over this back injury."
He added: "The specialists don't see too much of a problem that should keep him out too long.
"(But) we're going to make sure he's right. He's a young lad and got a great future in front of him. We couldn't take a chance. He doesn't feel he's ready to play. We'll leave it to him.
"He came up yesterday (Saturday) when we were at Sunderland and worked with the fitness coaches. When they started to push him a bit he couldn't go on and didn't feel right so they had to go back a few steps and start again."
Croatia playmaker Luka Modric also looks set to miss out, having undergone an operation to remove his appendix only 12 days ago.
"He trained this morning (Sunday) and felt a bit better again but to push him back into it would be difficult," Redknapp said. "He's not quite up to speed yet."
There was better news regarding Holland midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, who has been struggling with a calf strain, but still a big question mark over England striker Peter Crouch.
"[Van der Vaart] should be fit," said Redknapp. "Crouch is touch and go. His back's a bit of a problem - we're not sure he's going to be fit."
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