The 25 year old injured his ankle in Southampton's 3-0 victory over Leicester City on January 22 and Puel has revealed he is facing something of an injury crisis and may yet have to enter the transfer market to cover Van Dijk's injury.
"Ten players are not available, it is a lot," said Puel. "If I didn't protect some players against Arsenal, we cannot play this game against Swansea and the next one against West Ham. I had to make a choice.
"We know Virgil will stay for weeks out of the team. It is important to find a good balance without him for a few weeks. We will see how long he will not be available, but at the moment, like Liverpool, it's important to get a good balance in defence. Perhaps it is important to see the market in this position."