Kansas University's offensive linemen practically were indestructible last season when starters Joe Vaughn, Adrian Jones, Bob Whitaker and Danny Lewis started all 13 games.
Guard Tony Coker, who missed one start because of a concussion, will miss at least three times as much action this fall after suffering a broken ankle in Saturday night's closed scrimmage.
KU football coach Mark Mangino, who does not discuss injuries, declined comment Monday night.
However, sources close to the program said Coker broke his ankle in two places and had a plate and screws inserted during weekend surgery. The senior, who has started 21 games in the last two years, has a cast on the injured foot and will miss at least three games.
Coker (6-foot-5, 315 pounds) started nine games at tackle in 2002 before moving to right guard last season and was a mainstay on a line that helped KU set 12 single-season offensive records, including points (384) and yards (5,479).
KU's line appeared to be a strength again this season with Coker and Whitaker returning at guard and Vaughn at center. Air Force transfer Matt Thompson already has been named the starter at right tackle, while red-shirt freshman Cesar Rodriguez and sophomore Travis Dambach are battling for the job at left tackle.
With Coker out until at least the Sept. 25 Big 12 Conference opener against Texas Tech, possible replacements could include sophomore David Ochoa and junior-college transfer Matt Mann. Another option could be moving Dambach, who has played guard, tackle and defensive line, back to guard.