The England stopper looked in a lot of pain as he was substituted in the latter stages of Saturday night's 1-0 Premier League win at St James' Park, having sustained the issue while at full stretch to try and repel a goal-bound Sergio Reguilon volley that was eventually blocked by Fabian Schar.
Pope's distress was obvious and he carefully made his way off the pitch after treatment, replaced by deputy and former Manchester United loanee Martin Dubravka, who kept the clean sheet as Antony's late volley that deflected in off the chest of Harry Maguire was ruled out for offside against the England defender.
Such an issue only deepens Newcastle's ongoing injury crisis, with Howe already without 11 first-team players on Saturday in Sean Longstaff, Joe Willock, Harvey Barnes, Sven Botman, Callum Wilson, Dan Burn, Jacob Murphy, Matt Targett, Elliot Anderson and Javier Manquillo. Sandro Tonali is banned, meanwhile.
"It looks bad," Howe told TNT Sports of Pope's injury, with the 31-year-old now set to see a specialist. "It looks like a dislocation. He's done it before and had it operated on and come back successfully.
"But I don't know what the future holds for him, I don't know if he will need an operation or not, but we will get it checked out and fingers crossed he will be back soon.
"It will be a massive blow for us if he is ruled out for any length of time. It looked really innocuous, but that is usually the way and they are normally the more serious ones. You could see he was in distress and it looked like he dislocated his shoulder just diving.
"Martin Dubravka came on in a tricky situation with 10 minutes to go, narrow lead, which is not nice for a goalkeeper, so I have to compliment him for doing so well."
Pope's previous dislocated shoulder was suffered during a collision while playing for former club Burnley against Aberdeen in a Europa League qualifier back in July 2018.
He underwent surgery and eventually returned in the FA Cup tie with Barnsley in January 2019, but did not feature in the Premier League that season as the Clarets signed Joe Hart from Manchester City and later turned to Tom Heaton for the second half of the campaign.