Dontari Poe might not be plugging the middle of Kansas City's defense when the season begins.
The Pro Bowl nose tackle underwent back surgery for a herniated disc and is expected to miss all of training camp, according to the team's official site.
Poe's regular-season debut is also in jeopardy, according to head coach Andy Reid.
"I think he stands a reasonable chance (to return) the early part of the season," Reid said. "Whether it's the beginning or somewhere early in the season for his return. You just have to see how things recover."
Reid mentioned Jaye Howard and Mike DeVito as a possible Poe substitutes. But there's no replacing what the 6-foot-3, 346-pound behemoth can do in the middle of Reid's 3-4 defense.
Team trainer Rick Burkholder said Poe's back had become a lingering issue since minicamp. Poe was examined, given epidural injections and was "asymptomatic" when the team broke camp.
When the back flared up again, Burkholder and his team determined he would miss significant time.
"He'll have extensive treatment and rehab and I've told the coaches that we won't talk about anymore activity with Dontari until after we get out of training camp," Burkholder said. "For training camp purposes, he'll be with me. But he'll be in meetings and all that kind of stuff. He's recovering fine."