NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Saints have lost starting left tackle Terron Armstead for the start of the regular season.
Armstead needs surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder and his rehabilitation is expected to take four to six months, said a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Friday because there has been no announcement about the specific nature of Armstead’s injury.
Armstead, 25, posted on his Twitter page that he is “heartbroken” and “frustrated” when he learned he’d need the operation.
The 6-foot-5, 304 pound Armstead is in the first year of a five-year, $65 million extension that he signed before the 2016 season.
He has been a starter since late in his rookie season in 2013.
Leg injuries have hampered him for parts of the past two seasons. He played in only seven games last season.
Armstead began his NFL career with the Saints, who selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
His latest injury means the Saints will have two starting linemen who will have undergone surgery this offseason.
Starting center Max Unger is coming off foot surgery. While standing in front of his locker in a walking boot, Unger said during Saints minicamp this past week that his goal is to be ready to play by the first regular season game.
If Armstead is able to return in four months, he could begin playing as early as the half-way point in the season. But if his rehabilitation lags, his season could be virtually wiped out.
The specifics of the injury were first reported by NFL.com.
In his Twitter post, Armstead wrote: “Heartbroken when I found out I need surgery! No one is more frustrated than me after working so hard. I’ll be back #WhoDatNation STRONGER!!”
In the meantime, New Orleans will have a couple of options as Armstead’s replacement. Former first-round draft choice Andrus Peat, who was projected to start this season at left guard, move to left tackle, a position he played throughout his college career at Stanford and in spot duty with the Saints.
Another option could be rookie Ryan Ramczyk, whom the Saints selected with the last pick of the first round of this spring’s draft. The 6-6, 310-pound Ramczyk was drafted as the heir apparent to current starting right tackle Zach Strief, but played left tackle for Wisconsin.
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