Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is expected to miss four to six weeks after breaking a bone in his hand at practice, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Rapoport added that surgery won't be necessary, leaving open the possibility that Duvernay-Tardif could return for the season opener.
It's a tough blow for the player in his return to the Chiefs. Tardif, 30, opted out of the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic to work as a doctor at a Montreal long-term care facility in his native Canada.
"After everything we've been through in the last year, it sets your priorities and makes you realize how privileged we are to play ball," Duvernay-Tardif told Mike Jones of USA Today on Thursday. "After everything I witnessed on the front lines, to be here, playing football with a great group of guys, it's really awesome."
For his service during the 2020 season, Duvernay-Tardif was named the winner of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award in July:
Duvernay-Tardif, who started for the Chiefs during their Super Bowl title in the 2019 season, said he missed the game while he was working as a doctor and stayed in touch with his teammates.
"There were times when you come in on Monday morning and you see on every patient's TV is the recap of the Chiefs game, and you're like, '(Expletive), I could've been down there,'" he said. "But then at the same time, I knew that my role was to be working on the front lines in 2020.
"So, seeing my team win, talking to my teammates even though I was north of the border in Canada, that was a big relief and kept me grounded because I was looking forward to something else."
The veteran offensive guard has made 60 appearances for the Chiefs in his career, including 57 starts. His return was a plus for a team that remade its offensive line after Patrick Mahomes was consistently pressured by Tampa Bay's front seven in this year's Super Bowl.
Along with his return, the team also added tackle Orlando Brown, guards Joe Thuney and Kyle Long and center Austin Blythe. They also drafted Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey in the second round of this year's draft.
It's a new-look line for the Chiefs, albeit one that will be without Duvernay-Tardif in the short term.