Bale to miss Fulham trip
"He's been to see a specialist and it shouldn't be too long, a bit of work on it and he should be OK," manager Harry Redknapp told reporters on Friday.
"He's never, ever needed an operation. That's the last resort when you have a back problem. He has a little back injury that went into a spasm, but he should be back in 10 days."
Striker Roman Pavlyuchenko and left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto are fit after missing the trip to Newcastle while goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is back in training following a shoulder injury.
However, midfielders Wilson Palacios (knee) and Sandro (back) are doubtful.
"We've one or two knocks and we've only really got two central midfielders fully fit in Luka Modric and Jermaine Jenas," added Redknapp.
Chelsea hope to welcome back England midfielder Frank Lampard for the match at Everton on Saturday.
"Maybe Lampard will come back and I have to decide if he will start from the beginning or during the game," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti told reporters.
Everton forward Victor Anichebe (groin) is a doubt and Australian Tim Cahill will be playing in the Asian Cup final against Japan in Doha.
Manchester United will be without left-back Patrice Evra and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar for their visit to League One club and 2003 runners-up Southampton on Saturday.
Arsenal could welcome back goalkeeper Manuel Almunia for the first time since September for the tie against League One outfit Huddersfield Town on Sunday, with Lukas Fabianski set to miss the match.
"Almunia has a chance, Fabianski no," manager Arsene Wenger told the club's website.
Sebastien Squillaci and Abou Diaby will return to the squad and could be joined by Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky.
Manchester City's trip to League One club Notts County on Sunday pits managers Roberto Mancini and Paul Ince against each other, the pair last having met on the pitch in Serie A when Mancini played for Sampdoria and Ince for Inter Milan.
"I was told to get tight on him to stop him playing because otherwise he would rip us to pieces," said Ince on the Manchester club's website. Mancini expects a tough outing for his array of big names.
"The pitch will be different to what we're used to, their fans will be excited and so it will be a good test for us. We certainly won't be underestimating them and this is a competition we want to win," the Italian said.
Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nelsen will not be risked for the journey to Premier League rivals Aston Villa on Saturday.
Manager Steve Kean said he was impressed by new recruits Jermaine Jones and Roque Santa Cruz.
"The new lads Jermaine Jones and Roque Santa Cruz have had another wee