New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl center Max Unger suffered a foot injury and likely will miss the start of the 2017 regular season, according to reports Monday.
Unger underwent foot surgery over the weekend and the Saints are expected to begin the season without a key member of the offensive line, a source told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Unger will start the season on the physically unable to perform list and miss about five months, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.
The 31-year-old Unger is dealing with the same foot injury that caused him to miss one game last season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14, according to the Times-Picayune.
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Unger started 31 of 32 games for the Saints the past two seasons after being acquired as part of the 2015 trade that sent tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Saints signed Unger to a three-year, $22.2-million extension last year that will keep him in New Orleans through the 2019 season.
Unger, who made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and 2013, entered the league in 2009 out of Oregon as a second-round pick (49th overall) of the Seahawks. He has appeared in 98 career games, all starts.
New Orleans may turn to versatile Senio Kelemete, who can play all positions on the offensive line, or second-year center Jack Allen, who spent the 2016 season on the practice squad.
The Saints also signed rookie center Cameron Tom, who was an undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi.