PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles will be missing one of their top offensive linemen for the entire preseason.

Second-year lineman Dennis Kelly, who started 10 games last season as a rookie, said Thursday that he underwent surgery earlier in the week to repair a herniated disc in his lower back.

The Eagles confirmed the surgery later Thursday. Kelly said he had the operation on Monday.

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"It started bothering me last season," Kelly said during an interview in the parking lot of the NovaCare Complex. "I thought it would get better with rest, but it didn't, so I thought it would be better to have the surgery now."

He said he hopes to be ready for the start of the regular season. The Eagles open at Washington on Monday, Sept. 9.

"I can move pretty well although it doesn't look like it," Kelly said.

Kelly, 6-foot-8 and 321 pounds, started seven games at right tackle last season and three at right guard. He was expected to be the top backup tackle this year behind starters Jason Peters and rookie Lane Johnson.

The Eagles are currently lacking depth at that position. Peters is not practicing again today because of a strained hamstring and is not expected to play in Friday's preseason opener against New England. Free-agent pickup Ed Wang is also sidelined with a bruised knee.

Johnson will start at right tackle against the Patriots while free-agent Allen Barbre gets the nod at left tackle. Barbre was out of the NFL last season after stints with Green Bay (2007-09), Miami (2010) and Seattle (2010-11).

"It's an opportunity to go out and prove myself by playing well," Barbre said after Thursday's practice. "Unfortunately, guys get hurt in this league and when your number is called you have to step up."

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Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 25th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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