Eagles tackle Jason Peters ruptured the Achilles tendon in his right leg and will have surgery next Tuesday, the team announced Friday.
Peters injured his Achilles while training in Texas, the Eagles said. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Steve Raikin of the Rothman Institute.
While the severity of the rupture is unknown, the injury typically takes six-nine months to recover from, if not longer. It would seem that Peters will have difficulty returning in time for the 2012 opener in September, and even when he does return it usually takes another year for a player to be 100 percent.
"We all know how much Jason loves to play the game and how much he was looking forward to the start of the 2012 season," Eagles coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "Jason is one of the best, if not the best, offensive tackle in the NFL. We don’t know when he will return to the field and we will not speculate on a timeline. We are just going to let the surgical process and the rehabilitation process play itself out."
DeMeco Ryans, who the Eagles recently acquired in a trade, suffered an Achilles injury in Oct. 2010. He made it back in time for the 2011 opener, but he was clearly not playing at full capacity for most of the season.
The loss of Peters is a major blow to the Eagles. The 30-year-old earned his fifth straight Pro Bowl invite last year and was considered by many to be the best left tackle in the game in 2011. With the signing of guard Evan Mathis two weeks ago the Eagles locked up their entire starting offensive line for the next three seasons.
On Wednesday, Reid said that this was the most confident he has felt about his line since 2008, the last season he had with Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas as his tackles.
"It's been a while," Reid said at the NFL owners meetings in West Palm Beach, Fla. "That was one of the things Howie [Roseman] and I talked about -- the continuity part of it. If we could keep the guys together, let's attempt to do that."
It's unclear if Reid knew about Peters' injury then. Now he has to scramble to find a starting left tackle. The Eagles announced that they re-signed tackle King Dunlap on Friday, but the team may still be in the market for a free agent tackle. They could also use the draft to find a tackle.
Kareem McKenzie of the Giants and Demetrius Bell of the Bills are two of the more attractive tackles still on the market. McKenzie has played most of his career at rigth tackle. Bell replaced Peters at left tackle after the Eagles traded for the former college tight end in 2009.
"Howie and I will sort out the roster situation for the offensive line," Reid said in his statement. "We are glad to have King back as a part of our offensive line and we will continue to scan the free agent market, also knowing the draft is less than a month away.”
Todd Herremans could move over from right tackle, but the Eagles may prefer him to protect quarterback Michael Vick's blindside. The left-handed Dunlap can play both tackle spots, but has said he feels most comfortable at left tackle.
Right guard Danny Watkins played left tackle at Baylor. Mathis played briefly at right tackle last year in training camp.