Harry Kane's injury lay-off could be shorter than initially expected as Jose Mourinho suggested he should be back in time for the trip to Manchester City next week.
Kane injured both ankles in the 3-1 Premier League defeat to Liverpool at the end of January and was first thought to be facing "a few weeks" on the sidelines.
He missed the 1-0 loss at Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend and will also be absent when Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday (AEDT), plus Sunday's home game against West Brom.
But with Spurs set to face Everton in the FA Cup in a week's time and a daunting trip to in-form City three days later, Mourinho thinks Kane could be involved in at least one of those.
That would be a significant boost as well, given Spurs have won just 34.8 per cent of their 23 games across all competitions without Kane since the start of last season, compared to 52.4 per cent with him on the pitch.
"[He's making] good progress, he's happy with the progress and of course we're happy too," Mourinho said in Thursday's pre-match news conference.
"I think it's not a very optimistic thing to say next week he should be playing, it will be just a consequence of his good evolution.
"So, we're happy. We were scared when it happened, but next week we play Everton and City at the weekend. I believe for one of these matches he should be back."
Attention soon turned to Dele Alli, as it has regularly in Mourinho's media conferences lately.
The England international did not leave Spurs in the January transfer window despite apparent interest from Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain, meaning he will once again have to turn his focus to forcing his way back into Mourinho's thinking.
It was under Pochettino's guidance that Alli initially exploded in the Premier League, with his 63 top-flight goal involvements bettered by only six players across the attacking midfielder's first three seasons in the division.
He was proving a real weapon for Spurs in his role behind Harry Kane, and his 26 assists over the same period was the fifth highest in the Premier League – Alli found such consistency despite being significantly younger than those he was competing with.
But his form began to suffer towards the end of Pochettino's time at the club, scoring just two goals before the Argentinian was sacked last season in November 2019, and he has made just four Premier League appearances this term that amount to 75 minutes of action.
Asked what Alli needs to do to save his Spurs career, an optimistic Mourinho said: "He needs to recover from his injury, return to training and have a fresh start, because last week he couldn't even train – so that's the most important thing.
"I had a good conversation with him yesterday, we spoke around this question that you asked me and I think we found very common ground. It's an important period of the season for the team and for him also. We need him. We need a good Dele Alli.
"We are just waiting for him to be back to a good normality. Dele, Kane, [Giovani] Lo Celso, we're talking about players that without all three we miss a little creation, some magic around the attacking areas.
"We had a conversation. Of course, a conversation doesn't put a player in great form but hopefully [it gives] the motivation he needs to be back for the team.
"We are in the Europa League, the Premier League and the FA Cup, although I don't believe he'll be back for that. I think when he's physically ready he'll be in a good frame of mind."