The Arsenal playmaker's problem is not thought to be serious and with the match against Switzerland not completely ruled out, he certainly could have a chance of facing Ivory Coast on Tuesday. But having missed training on Friday, it seems highly unlikely any risks will be taken for what is only a friendly.
"Emile didn't train today (Friday) so I would think it's unlikely he will be involved tomorrow," said manager Southgate. "Nothing too serious, but we'll check."
Smith Rowe spent the second half of the 2019-20 season on loan at Huddersfield, and has since established himself back at Arsenal.
The Three Lions have already lost Tammy Abraham, Aaron Ramsdale, Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sam Johnstone. Bukayo Saka is free to do just about anything but play football after Covid-19.
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling missed a few days' training to travel to the Caribbean and meet members of the royal family, but it is not expected to keep him out.
"Raheem's absolutely fine," confirmed Southgate.
"It was a shame to lose Bukayo but we're back in those moments with Covid where there is a spike in the country and we've had the same.
"I'm lost on the rules, really. I'm not quite sure why he's out because I think you can carry on now with normal life but I think people have an ethical responsibility if they're positive to stay away from others and stop the spread of the virus.
"I think by the normal rules of life he could carry on, but football rules are a bit different.
"I'm in a maze of confusion, frankly."
Southampton's Kyle Walker-Peters is the only right-back in the squad. Crystal Palace defenders Marc Guehi and Tyrick Mitchell are also uncapped.
"We're going to have debuts this week, for sure, whether that's tomorrow or Tuesday," said the manager. "We will always want to put them in with experienced players as well so we've got a good balance and it gives them the best chance of succeeding."
But he refused to go further than that when asked if Sheffield-born centre-back Harry Maguire would start despite some miserable club form with Manchester United this season.
"I'm not going to start giving the team because I never do, so it wouldn't be right to start that process," he said.