Two-time Pro Bowl guard Shawn Andrews, who has anchored the offensive line for the last three seasons, had surgery on his injured back on Tuesday and is expected to miss at least six weeks.
Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said Andrews had the surgery in California and the recovery time could be as long as three months.
"We've had before guys come back in five weeks, guys have taken three months," Burkholder said Wednesday. "It depends on when he gets his strength back and his symptoms go away. So we're just going to play it week by week with him right now."
Andrews will begin rehab immediately and visit the surgeon, Dr. Robert Watkins Sr., again later in the week. A decision will be made then about when he can return to Philadelphia.
Burkholder said the injury was related to a herniated disk Andrews had in high school. He received an injection for it then, but had not experienced any problems during college at Arkansas or after being drafted.
Andrews had not played since aggravating the injury in Week 2 against Dallas on an extra-point attempt. Burkholder said Andrews took on a double-team and immediately began feeling pain.
"We think that this was the best approach for Shawn and once he gets through the rehab process we can sail ahead with him," Burkholder said.
Max Jean-Gilles has filled in for Andrews the last four games. Jean-Gilles practiced with the starters for much of training camp as Andrews sat out while battling depression.
Running back Brian Westbrook, who sat out the Eagles' 40-26 win over San Francisco before the bye week with broken ribs, should be back against Atlanta, along with Kevin Curtis, who has not played since having surgery in August to repair a sports hernia.
"I'm going to go out there and give it all that I have for as long as I can," Westbrook said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.