Offensive lineman Nick Kaczur has not been a participant in training camp since last Friday, and he might not return to the practice field anytime soon.
Kaczur has told teammates he has a "significant" back injury that will sideline him indefinitely, and possibly the entire season, according to a report on ESPNBoston.com last night.
Kaczur had been working at left guard rather than his right tackle spot because of the contract standoff between the Patriots and Pro Bowler Logan Mankins. Kaczur left the field early during the third training camp session just more than a week ago and has not participated since.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James declined to comment when reached last night.
With Kaczur on the shelf, Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell have been working at left guard. On Thursday, newly signed Eric Ghiaciuc took some snaps there. Rich Ohrnberger, who was a day-of-game inactive 13 times last season, and rookie Ted Larsen could contribute at guard.
Mankins is not under contract because he has not signed his restricted free agent tender; the Globe has reported that the Patriots have had a deal on the table for Mankins that averages $7 million per season, on a level with the highest paid guards in the NFL.
Offensive line chaos would not be good for Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the rest of the New England offense. Hopefully the standoff between Mankins and the Patriots will end.