Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas confirmed Defoe is likely to missing for up to 10 days after sustaining a muscle injury, but said it was not a recurrence of the muscle tear he suffered last month.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has recovered from a knee problem but may struggle to displace Brad Friedel, who has generally been preferred in Europe.
Sandro and Younes Kaboul (both knee) remain sidelined.
Swiss league leaders Basel come to London in form having conceded just one goal in five games.
But Murat Yakin is without three suspended regulars – full-backs Philipp Degen and Park Joo Ho and midfielder Marcelo Diaz.