Report: Saints' Larry Warford to miss time with abdominal injury

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints' offensive line has taken yet another hit, with right guard Larry Warford expected to miss several weeks with the abdominal injury that he suffered Sunday, according to the NFL Network.

Veteran backup Senio Kelemete, who replaced Warford during Sunday's 26-17 win at Green Bay, will almost certainly replace him in the starting lineup.

The good news is that the Saints (4-2) have held up remarkably well up front this year, despite a rotating series of injuries to their offensive linemen. Right tackle Zach Strief is on the injured reserve list with a knee injury that he suffered in Week 4. Left tackle Terron Armstead returned two weeks ago from June shoulder surgery. And center Max Unger missed almost the entire offseason because of a foot surgery.

Luckily, Kelemete has proved to be a valuable fill-in over the years at all five positions on the line. Kelemete, 27, has started a total of 16 games in New Orleans over the past three years at guard, center and tackle -- though guard is his most natural position.

"Senio is one of those unsung heroes," Drew Brees said after Sunday's win. "A guy who can come in at a moment's notice and handle it and doesn't blink. ... There's not a guy that's more respected or appreciated, at least from my perspective."

That doesn't mean Warford will be easy to replace, though. The fifth-year pro has done a very good job in his debut season with the Saints after signing a four-year, $34 million contract this offseason as their most expensive free-agent addition. The 6-foot-3, 317-pounder, who spent his first four years with the Detroit Lions, is an athletic big man who has held up equally well in the run game and in pass protection.

"He's been a great addition for us," Saints coach Sean Payton said recently. "He's a good player, and he's been steady, available. I think he's a good teammate; he's strong. I like the player a lot, and I'm glad that he's someone we signed."