Source: New England Patriots center David Andrews has thumb surgery, headed to IR

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots starting center David Andrews underwent surgery on the right thumb of his snapping hand this week, a source confirmed to ESPN. He was placed on injured reserve on Saturday.

James Ferentz will be promoted from the practice squad and could start on Sunday vs. the Raiders.

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports first reported the surgery.

Andrews, who injured the thumb during last Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks, did not participate in team drills on Wednesday and Thursday, although he was present at the start of practice the past two days with a wrap/cast on his right thumb that extended down to his wrist. At one point, in individual drills, he attempted to snap with his left hand.

Andrews, one of the team's captains and a key cog who makes the protection calls, is valued for his intelligence and toughness. He missed the 2019 season after being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs, but returned to form the first two games of this year.

"He's the piece that holds it all together as the center," starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn said this week. "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."

Andrews will miss at least the next three games.

Hjalte Froholdt, a 2019 fourth-round draft choice from Arkansas who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, has been serving as one of the Patriots' backup centers during the team's 1-1 start. Veteran James Ferentz is another possibility to fill in if the Patriots elect to elevate him from the practice squad.

Of Froholdt, coach Bill Belichick said Friday morning: "He's been able to be out on the field every day and work hard and continue to get better since we've had the opportunity to begin practicing. He's still a young player that has a lot of room to grow and works very hard at it."

Also missing for Sunday's game will be James White. The running back, whose father died in a car accident last Sunday, has been ruled out for personal reasons. He didn't practice this week after also missing Sunday's loss to the Seahawks.

Rookie linebacker Josh Uche was also placed on IR.