Training camp has yet to begin, but the New England Patriots already are down one of their core defenders.
Linebacker Tully Banta-Cain underwent surgery for an abdominal strain Friday, a league source told The Boston Globe on Sunday. Banta-Cain reportedly will begin a 4-to-5-week recovery period.
Banta-Cain, 31, had 45 tackles a season ago and gave the team's tepid pass rush a boost with five sacks. Originally drafted by the Patriots in 2003, Banta-Cain re-joined New England in 2009 after two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
Banta-Cain dealt with abdominal issues last season, but a source said he'd been feeling "fine" before he re-aggravated the injury after raising the intensity of personal workouts.
With Banta-Cain on the shelf, the Patriots could look to add depth at linebacker when the free-agency period begins.