The Juventus loanee returned from the international break with a hamstring problem, although he was briefly spotted in training before the Champions League win over Eintracht Frankfurt on October 12.
However, Kulusevski has since suffered a setback in his recovery and has now been absent for Spurs’ last six games in all competitions.
There was thought to be slight hope that Kulusevski would be available for the visit of Newcastle, with Tottenham rather thin on the ground in attack after Richarlison suffered a calf injury against Everton last weekend.
Conte had bad news for Tottenham fans at his pre-game press conference, though, and he is concerned that Kulusevski might not be able to return before the World Cup.
“No news. Deki Kulusevski is not available. I think we have to wait a bit of time to see him with us,” Conte told the media, as quoted by football.london.
“His recovery was going well and then one day the situation worsened. When this happens you have to restart. You need time, you need time. We have the medical department to face injury situations and they have to face it in a short period. If you are good to solve it in a quick way then it can mean points.”
With Kulusevski and Richarlison absent, Conte switched to a 3-5-2 formation for Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min forming a strike partnership.
Lucas Moura and Bryan Gil warmed the bench – the former played the final 10 minutes of the match – but Conte is being careful over the Brazilian’s fitness following his recent tendon injury and joked that he would have to lace up his boots if Tottenham’s injury situation worsened.
“When you have a Kulusevski injury and Richarlison. Lucas is not ready to start and then for sure this type of situation creates you a big difficulty,” Conte added.
“We have in this moment Harry and Sonny in good health. (Laughs) Fingers crossed, I hope to continue otherwise I have to put on the shoes to play!”
Tottenham will be boosted by the return of wing-back Emerson Royal from suspension for Sunday’s game, as the Brazilian returns to compete with Matt Doherty on the right-hand side.
Prior to the win over Man United, Conte spoke positively of his 3-4-3 formation before putting out a 3-5-2, but he has now claimed that the best solution for his side is to continue with a midfield three while Kulusevski and Richarlison remain out.
“I don’t think we lose the game for the formation otherwise we won the game against Everton with a 3-5-2. If you want to find an excuse I can find a lot but I don’t want to find excuses,” the 53-year-old added.
“The best situation for the team at the moment is to play with the three midfielders and then we’ll see the improvement of Lucas’ fitness.”
Tottenham remain third in the table following their defeat to Manchester United but missed the chance to close the gap on leaders Arsenal, who sit four points clear at the top with a game in hand.