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The New England Patriots will be without one of their most valued offensive players for at least three weeks starting this Sunday, as the team announced Saturday it has placed starting center David Andrews on injured reserve. The two-time Super Bowl champion left the Patriots' Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks after injuring his thumb, and despite returning to practice in recent days, he has reportedly undergone surgery on his snapping hand. Andrews won't be eligible to return from IR until Week 6.

The veteran blocker was present at the start of practice on both Friday and Saturday while wearing a wrap/cast on his right thumb and wrist, per ESPN's Mike Reiss, but did not partake in team drills the two days prior. Although he reportedly even attempted snapping the ball with his left hand at one point, Andrews is now a lock to be sidelined for New England's next three games. The 28-year-old had gotten off to a solid start in 2020 after missing all of the 2019 season because of blood clots in his lungs.

"He's the piece that holds it all together as the center," left tackle Isaiah Wynn said this week, per ESPN. "With all his knowledge, he's very reliable. When we don't know something, he knows the answer to it. Just him being the key piece has been helpful and great."

Without Andrews, the Patriots could turn to several potential replacements in the middle of the O-line. Practice-squad promotion James Ferentz, who's in his fourth season with the team, appears to be first in line to step in for Andrews on Sunday when the Pats play host to the Las Vegas Raiders. Hjalte Froholdt, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick who spent his rookie year on IR, has technically been New England's backup center in 2020 and could also receive an opportunity to anchor the trenches in Andrews' absence.