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Banta-Cain has surgery

Abdomen flared during workouts

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / July 25, 2011

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Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain will be unavailable for much, if not all, of training camp and the preseason after undergoing surgery Friday for an abdomen strain.

Two league sources confirmed the surgery; the expected recovery time is 4-5 weeks.

Banta-Cain was affected by the injury during much of the 2010 season, during which he recorded 50 tackles and five sacks. Team doctors knew about the problem, and when the season ended, he was given a plan for how to handle it during the lockout (players have had access to team doctors during the lockout but not trainers).

One source said Banta-Cain was feeling “fine’’ until about three or four weeks ago. That’s when, the second source said, he began increasing the intensity of his workouts and the injury flared up.

Everything went as expected with the surgery, and the doctor who performed the procedure is expected to be in contact with Patriots doctors today. New England’s medical team will take over Banta-Cain’s rehab once he and the rest of his teammates are allowed to return to the team facility when the lockout ends.

Banta-Cain tried to wait until the lockout was over and he was back in the care of team medical and training personnel, but as the lockout dragged on, the second source said, he feared losing more of the regular season.

Banta-Cain, who turns 31 next month, is headed into his ninth season and seventh with the Patriots. He has been working out in New England, with the large group of players that has been training at a facility near Gillette Stadium, and also in his native California.

With Banta-Cain on the shelf, that could increase the Patriots’ desire to add a linebacker once free agency begins. Cleveland’s Matt Roth and San Francisco’s Manny Lawson have been mentioned as players New England could be interested in.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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