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Saints center Max Unger dealing with foot injury

After building some momentum offensively this offseason with the signing of veterans like Adrian Peterson and Ted Ginn, Jr., the New Orleans Saints just took a major step backward.

Starting center Max Unger recently underwent surgery on an injured foot and will miss about five months, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday on Good Morning Football. The anchor of their offensive line, who came to Louisiana in a trade for tight end Jimmy Graham in 2015 and started 31 of 32 possible games, Unger will start the season on the physically unable to perform list, Rapoport added.

The 30-year-old, two-time Pro Bowler was a perfect fit for Drew Brees' cerebral command of the offense. Now, the Saints might be dipping into the untested waters of veteran free agency. Seven-time Pro Bowler Nick Mangold, who just turned 33, is currently available.

"I'm just rehabbing, trying to get right, trying to get ready," Mangold told Newsday at former teammate Willie Colon's charity golf tournament for Lupus research on Monday. Mangold, who was hampered by an ankle injury last season, added he's "still trying to see what the options are" regarding whether he'll play or potentially retire.

Former undrafted free agent Jack Allen is theoretically the next man on up the Saints' depth chart after Unger.

The only silver lining for the Saints at this point is that they have time. The Unger issue came to light before the rigors of training camp and allows for some long-term planning at the position.

In order to keep Brees and Peterson happy, Unger's fill-in replacement has to be a quick study.

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