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Sheldon Rankins breaks fibula, will have surgery

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Disaster has struck the New Orleans Saints.

First-round defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins was carted off the field during Monday's practice with a broken fibula based on initial tests, a source informed of the injury told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Rankins was injured during a goal-line drill.

Rankins will undergo surgery Tuesday, a source with knowledge of the pending procedure told NFL Media's Mike Garafolo. Dr. Robert Anderson will perform the surgery in North Carolina.

The team hopes Rankins will take six weeks to recover, but an exact timeframe won't be known until after surgery, Garafolo added. An MRI revealed no ligament damage but the full extent of the injury won't be known until the surgery is complete.

"We'll get an update and we'll keep you posted, but we're trying to get the reps in and obviously you never want to see a player go down," coach Sean Payton said after practice. "Hopefully the news is good."

New Orleans was counting on Rankins to help anchor the team's needy defensive line. Seen as one of the draft's most disruptive interior forces, the No. 12 overall pick had already made his presence felt during a strong training camp. Rankins turned heads by picking off Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady during last week's joint practices. He then went on to play well against New England in Thursday's preseason tilt:

The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Rankins was set to fill a primary need for the Saints, who planned to line him up next to fellow tackle Tyeler Davison. New Orleans also has Nick Fairley, John Jenkins and fourth-round rookie David Onyemata on the roster.

With Rankins out of the picture until further notice, defensive end Cameron Jordan will be counted on to guide the pass rush alongside the buzzy Kasim Edebali. It's hardly how New Orleans envisioned this year getting started.

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