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Eagles tackle Dennis Kelly underwent surgery Monday to repair a disc in his back and is expected out for the remainder of the preseason. (USA Today Images)
Eagles offensive tackle Dennis Kelly, who started 10 games last year as a rookie, is out for the rest of the preseason and perhaps longer after undergoing back surgery.
Kelly, who figured to be first off the bench this season at tackle, said he underwent surgery Monday to have the L2 disc repaired and expects to be back for the season opener.
Although recovery times can vary from case to case, the 23-year-old Kelly said he’s optimistic that his rehab won’t linger into the regular season.
“I’m moving pretty well, although it doesn’t look like it,” Kelly said as he gingerly shoehorned his 6-foot-8, 321-pound frame into a black SUV before exiting the NovaCare Complex.
The Eagles have not yet officially announced Kelly’s status.
The recent absences in practice of Kelly and starting left tackle Jason Peters has thrown journeyman Allen Barbre into the first-team mix. Barbre has taken significant reps at left tackle lately and will probably start there Friday night in the preseason opener against the Patriots.
The 29-year-old Barbre, a fourth-year pro who can also play guard, has played for three other NFL teams and has started seven career games. All seven came in 2009 with Green Bay.
Kelly, the Purdue product, played in 13 games last year after being picked in the fifth round, 153rd overall. He made his first start at right guard in place of an injured Danny Watkins and eventually moved to right tackle, replacing an injured Todd Herremans.
Kelly said his back flared up last year, although he didn’t know the origin of the injury. He had hoped it would subside in the offseason, but he started feeling the pain again during camp and decided to have the procedure done while he can still recover in time for the season.