Pats' Nick Kaczur (back) sidelined

Updated: August 7, 2010, 7:29 AM ET
By Mike Reiss & Adam Schefter | ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots opened training camp with a large void at left guard -- the result of Logan Mankins not reporting in a contract dispute -- and now the void could be even larger.

Mankins' replacement, Nick Kaczur, has, according to a league source, told teammates that he has a significant back injury that could sideline him indefinitely and potentially threaten his 2010 season. Kaczur could still seek another medical opinion, but the initial diagnosis is grim.

The Patriots, through a team spokesman, did not confirm the injury or the long-term prognosis for Kaczur.

Kaczur, a six-year veteran making the switch from right tackle to guard, has been sidelined for the Patriots' past 11 training camp practices, not including walk-through sessions.

That has the Patriots down to their third layer of depth at left guard, with five-year veteran Dan Connolly lining up with the starting unit. Connolly, who originally joined the practice squad in 2007, has four career starts, all coming last season.

Second-year player Ryan Wendell, who has spent parts of the past two seasons on the Patriots' practice squad, projects as Connolly's top backup. He has played in two career games.

The Patriots also signed veteran center/guard Eric Ghiaciuc, who has played in 48 career games with 42 starts from 2005 to 2008, on Wednesday. Second-year player Rich Ohrnberger (2009 fourth-round pick) and rookie Ted Larsen (2010 sixth-round pick) are other options at left guard.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPN Boston. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag. Adam Schefter is an ESPN NFL Insider.

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