Oregon head coach Dan Lanning announced on Monday that interior defensive lineman Popo Aumavae will miss the 2022 season with a foot injury.

“Unfortunately, it looks like he’s gonna be (out). I hate it for him. He had a foot injury, so it looks like he’s gonna be out for the season,” Lanning told reporters at his Monday evening press conference. “That’s a big loss for us. He’s gonna be getting surgery. Hate to lose him because he’s worked so hard to get back from injury.”

The 6-foot-3 Aumavae is in his sixth season with the Ducks. He played in seven games as a redshirt freshman in 2018, then 13 games in 2019 as a sophomore where he put up five tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. In 2020, he played in the Ducks’ final five games, totaling 10 tackles. In 2021, he finally enjoyed the breakout campaign. He was named a first-team all-conference selection by the Associated Press and Pro Football Focus after finishing with a career-high 36 tackles and three tackles for loss.

But Aumavae missed the end of the season with an upper-body injury that forced him to sit out the spring period this year as well. Though he’s already used a redshirt year, he might be able to apply for a medical redshirt from the NCAA to return for a seventh season.

In the interim, Lanning said the Ducks will still keep him as a big part of the team.

“Really still looking to lean on him and his leadership and those pieces,” Lanning said.

Aumavae didn’t play in the Ducks’ opener against Georgia. Keyon Ware-Hudson (20 snaps as a defensive tackle), Sam Taimani (21 snaps), Jordon Riley (23 snaps), and Casey Rogers (29 snaps) handled the interior defensive line responsibilities in his absence.

The Ducks face Eastern Washington in their home-opener at Autzen Stadium on Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for 5:30 pm PT.