METAIRIE, La. (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says Saints starting left guard Andrus Peat has a hand injury and that the timeline for his return is unclear.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Saints have not discussed the status of Peat, who was absent from practice on Monday.
Peat, a 2015 first-round draft choice by New Orleans, is in the first year of a five-year extension worth $57.5 million.
Because linemen other than centers generally do not need to handle the ball and are permitted to play while wearing soft casts, it is not clear whether the 6-foot-7, 316-pound Peat will have to miss any games. The Saints are scheduled to open their regular season Sept. 13 against Tampa Bay.
The 26-year-old Peat turned pro after starting two years at left tackle for Stanford. His versatility has been useful to New Orleans, which converted him to a guard but has continued to also use him as a substitute tackle as needed.
Peat has been selected to the Pro Bowl each of the past two seasons and has contributed to an offense that has averaged an NFL-best 394.8 yards per game during the past five seasons.
An Arizona native and son of former NFL lineman Todd Peat, he started at guard in all 10 regular-season games in which he played last season. He missed six games with a fractured forearm but was back in time for New Orleans’ regular-season finale and lone playoff game.
Peat was among two long-time regulars absent from practice, the other being tight end Josh Hill.
Saints coach Sean Payton said he intends to stick largely to his policy of not going into detail about injuries during training camp, when teams are not required to post injury reports.
When asked about Peat and Hill, he said Hill “just had a tweak” heading into camp, but did not go into further detail.