The 35-year-old has been ruled out for up to ten weeks after suffering a fracture to his right ankle during the Cherries loss to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup quarter finals earlier this month.
Defoe had scored three goals in 15 Premier League appearances since arriving from Sunderland in the summer.
"We'll wait and see what we do; the January window is always tough to recruit in," Howe said.
"The four strikers we have, I think they're all top quality. I have no hesitation in playing any of them, so I don't think Jermain's injury forces my hand at all.
"We're bitterly disappointed to lose Jermain; he's going to be out for around 10 weeks. He's worked incredibly hard since he's been here behind the scenes.
"And we just hope when he's back there's no complications with the injury and he can pick up where he left off."