Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers is to be ruled out of action for at least two weeks with a hand injury, according to NFL.com reports.
The linebacker sustained the injury during a practice session last week, and is believed to have required surgery to rectify a 'slight break'.
This is not the first time that the 28-year-old has damaged his hand playing football. In both 2007 and 2010, Willis broke his right hand. On both occasions he continued to play through the pain.
However, with a month to go until the start of a new season, he has had the opportunity to have his hand properly fixed, with time to recover before the Green Bay Packers arrive in town for the NFL opening weekend on September 8.
This year's Super Bowl runners-up will want to have a healthy roster of players available so that they can get their campaign off to the best possible start.
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