Premier League action until January with a groin injury.
The Frenchman sustained the problem whilst on international duty, but it was initially thought to be a minor issue.
However, Alan Pardew has conceded that it appears to be worse than originally thought and that the ex-Lille man may be out of action until after Christmas:
“Cabaye looks like he could be out four to six weeks.” He told the Evening Chronicle.
“He might possibly have to have a little surgery on that groin. It could be we run all the way to the end of January before I have my first team to pick from.”
His absence is of particular concern to Pardew who is already missing Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic and Dan Gosling with long-term problems.
To make matters worse, Ivory Coast international Cheick Tiote will be unavailable for the start of 2013 due to African Cup of Nations.
Pardew admitted that with the holding midfielder’s imminent absence, he cannot afford to lose any more members of his squad:
“When Cabaye comes back, Cheick will be gone. It is tough for us at the minute,
“You have seasons when you lose players and you have to be able to cope with it.
“If I had everybody available then losing Cabaye would not be such a blow. At the minute we cannot afford to lose anybody.”