The Frenchman suffered a groin injury on international duty and the injury appears to be worse than the initial prognosis.
"Cabaye looks like he could be out four to six weeks," the Magpies boss 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."
Pardew is already missing Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic to longer-term injuries.
Even when Cabaye is fully fit, Pardew will not be able to select his first choice central midfield pairing as Cheick Tiote is likely to be involved in the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.
"When Cabaye comes back, Cheick will be gone. It is tough for us at the minute," Pardew added.
"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."