Patriots' Cloud has calf surgery

Updated: July 31, 2003, 4:07 PM ET

FOXBORO, Mass. -- New England running back Mike Cloud underwent calf surgery that could sideline him for an extended period.

His operation was Wednesday at Massachusetts General Hospital. Coach Bill Belichick said Cloud could miss "significant" time and did not say which leg was injured.

Cloud already had been suspended four games by the NFL for testing positive for a banned steroid, nandrolone. If he made the Patriots' regular-season roster, he would have missed the first four games this year.

Cloud said he tested positive after using an over-the-counter protein supplement he believed to be free of banned substances.

Cloud, a backup in Kansas City in his four NFL seasons, had made progress in training camp before Wednesday's operation. His last practice was Tuesday.

"I feel badly because he's worked hard, came in ready to go, did some positive things, and now, had a little setback," Belichick said Thursday.

Last season, Cloud started the final two games for Kansas City as a replacement for injured Priest Holmes. The former Boston College star had 121 carries for 381 yards in four seasons with the Chiefs.

The Patriots are left with two healthy tailbacks -- Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk.

Antwoine Womack has been sidelined since training camp began July 23 as he comes back from reconstructive knee surgery that sidelined him all last season. J.R. Redmond is nursing bruised ribs.

"Our numbers at running back have come down a little bit in the past few days, but that's more opportunity for some other guys," Belichick said. "Well manage it."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index