Gareth Bale has sprained ankle ligaments but can train in two weeks

• Player injured in Tottenham's Europa League draw with Basel
• Initial fears of lengthy lay-off have been allayed

Mousa Dembélé says that Tottenham Hotspur have the strength in depth to cope with Gareth Bale's injury absence which, to general relief, was confirmed on Friday as being likely to amount to no more than two weeks.

Bale sent anxiety levels soaring at White Hart Lane on Thursday night, when he was taken off on a stretcher in the final minute of the 2-2 draw with Basel in the Europa League quarter-final first leg, having tangled with the substitute David Degen to twist his right ankle at a horrible angle.

The club's talisman and top scorer with 22 goals in all competitions underwent a scan on Friday which confirmed the manager André Villas-Boas's post-match bulletin that the injury had looked worse on the TV replays and the forward should return to training within two weeks.

Bale, who will wear a protective boot in the coming days, has avoided a lengthier lay-off because of a previous rupture to the ligament in the ankle. In layman's terms, once the ligament has "gone", it cannot do so again. The damage this time is on the scar tissue from the original injury.

The predicted recovery scale would make Bale available for the Premier League trip to Manchester City on 21 April, although there is the acceptance that it would be foolish to push him if he were not 100% and it feels like another positive for Tottenham that their league fixture at Chelsea, which was scheduled for Sunday week, has been postponed, due to their opponents' involvement in the FA Cup semi-final with City.

But Bale will miss Sunday's league game at home to Everton and the second leg against Basel on Thursday, which promises to be another exacting test, given the cut and thrust that the Swiss champions have shown.

Villas-Boas said that Basel had been the most impressive visitors to Tottenham's ground that he had known, and the goalkeeper Brad Friedel could not "remember a team that has had as many chances at White Hart Lane this season". Bale's absence has been compounded by that of the striker Jermain Defoe, who damaged an abdominal muscle in training earlier in the week to miss the first leg against the Swiss side; he will sit out Everton and the Basel return, and Aaron Lennon and William Gallas are out for a similar period.

Lennon limped off after 24 minutes against Basel with soft tissue damage below the knee and Gallas strained a calf muscle in the closing stages and was forced off. Tottenham said in a statement that Bale, Lennon and Gallas had undergone scans that "indicated all three players are expected to return to training within two weeks".

Villas-Boas cut a distraught figure on the touchline as Bale lay prone and, rather abruptly, he has lost not only the Wales international but his other most potent attackers in Defoe and Lennon.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored his fifth goal of the season against Basel but the centre-forward is groping desperately for form and the spotlight in the next two games will pick out Clint Dempsey, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby. Dembélé, though, is confident that the attack-minded midfielders will drive Tottenham to the results that they need.

"There are other good players who play well," Dembélé said. "Gareth has been very important for us but other players have to step up now.

"Dempsey is one of them who can do this. I remember from our time together at Fulham that he was very important so I know what he can do. He can score important goals. We have good players on the bench. With or without [the injured players], we can win our games."

Bale has missed four league matches so far this season, with Tottenham winning two and losing two, and he has missed three more in Europe, in which the team have won, drawn and lost. His star is so bright that it seems as though his teammates spend a portion of every interview talking about him.

"If we are missing Gareth for a couple of games, it is a huge loss for us," said Sigurdsson.

"But there are many players on the bench who are hungry to come in and do well. Hopefully Lennon and Defoe will be back soon, too. When someone gets injured, someone has to step up and fill his place, even though it's not easy with Gareth and how he has been doing this year. But someone needs to come in and do well for the team."

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