Nick Kaczur reportedly underwent surgery on his ailing back at some point in the last 10 days, and he now faces the very real possibility of missing the entire 2010 season, according to Ian Rapoport at the Boston Herald.
According to Rapoport, the procedure was to relieve pain in Kaczur's back caused by "a bulging disk hitting a nerve."
Kaczur, expected to be the replacement for Logan Mankins should the guard continue to not report to the team, suffered the injury on the second day of camp and has been out since. Mike Reiss reported two weeks ago that Kaczur had a "significant back injury that could sideline him indefinitely, potentially threaten his season," so the news of surgery is not too surprising.
There has been no official word from the Patriots as of yet; Rapoport says they are hoping the pain in Kaczur's back lessens. But the "two sources close to the situation ... seriously believe" his 2010 season is over.
Faced with the possibility of no Mankins or Kaczur, on Sunday, the Patriots traded for offensive guard/tackle Quinn Ojinaka from the Falcons in exchange for an undisclosed draft pick.
Ojinaka was a fifth round pick out of Syracuse in 2006. He's played in 39 career games, having started 12. Last season, he started several games at guard, but also plays a lot of tackle. At 6'5", 299 lbs, Ojinaka has good athleticism. While he isn't the strongest, he plays with a nasty streak. He was part of a logjam along the offensive line in Atlanta.
Kaczur has been New England's starting right tackle for the past five seasons before shifting to guard this summer. If he can't play, Dan Connolly will take his place, essentially then filling in for Mankins.
For Mankins, who remains at home over a contract dispute, this could be the bit of leverage he needs to collect more money from the team.