Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage said Bentley is considering another operation to repair the left patellar tendon he tore on the first full-contact play of training camp last summer.
"If he does elect to have the surgery, then obviously he won't be here for 2007 as an active player," said Savage, adding "it's more likely he will have surgery."
A two-time Pro Bowl selection in New Orleans, Bentley signed a six-year, $36 million free agent contract in March to play for the Browns, his hometown team. But he had his first season in Cleveland end freakishly.
While blocking on a running play, Bentley tore his tendon planting his foot. Following surgery, he contracted a staph infection, which caused further damage to his knee and required another operation.
Savage said even if Bentley has a third operation and can't play in '07, the team will carry him on their roster and reassess his condition next year.
"We certainly owe LeCharles an opportunity to see where he's going to be," he said. "This time next year I think we'll have a much clearer picture in terms if he is really a legitimate piece of the puzzle here or has the injury been so devastating that he may never play again."