The hits for New England keep on coming.
Over the past month, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has watched the exit and return of linebacker Jamie Collins and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Wide receiver Julian Edelman could still be weeks away from taking the field and now, star safety Devin McCourty likely will miss some time.
Per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, McCourty suffered a sprained ankle in Sunday night's 27-6 win over the Texans. Though X-rays looking for more significant damage returned negative, the team is not sure if the sprain is a high ankle variety, which typically carries a more significant rehabilitation time. Either way, McCourty is not expected to miss the playoffs.
The Patriots are probably digesting the bittersweet news like they have just about every injury this season outside of Dion Lewis. Thankfully, it is short-term, but the kind of persistent, nagging short-term that will require some serious maintenance.
Fortunately for Belichick, he got rolling early and gave himself enough of a cushion. Knowing him, he'll take this as an opportunity to develop the next Malcolm Butler secretly, then deploy him during a crucial moment in the playoffs. Though he has warmth of a hedgehog, Belichick wouldn't have gotten this far without being an eternal optimist.
Tavon Wilson, the team's 2012 second-round pick, is still stashed and ready to go after having a decent showing against the Bills as an emergency cornerback a few weeks back. Duron Harmon could also get some time in McCourty's absence.
Here's the rest of the injuries we are tracking on Monday:
- Bengals quarterback Andy Daltonwon't have surgery on his injured thumb, coach Marvin Lewis told reporters. Dalton suffered a fractured thumb in Sunday's loss to the Steelers. The hope is he's back for the playoffs, depending on how he heals.
- Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls suffered a broken ankle in the first quarter of Seattle's win over the Ravens and will miss the remainder of the season. Safety Kam Chancellor (bruised tailbone) is unlikely to practice Wednesday.
- Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer suffered another concussion. The veteran signal-caller goes into the league's concussion protocol and the team will prepare T.J. Yates to start. Coach Bill O'Brien told reporters Monday that Hoyer also suffered a neck strain and hurt his wrist. "He took a beating out there," said O'Brien.
- Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson suffered an MCL sprain against the Saints and is expected to miss several games, according to Rapoport. He will not undergo surgery and there's a chance he could return before Tampa Bay's season ends.
- The Browns placed cornerback Joe Haden on injured reserve because of a concussion, Rapoport reported. Haden, who hasn't played since Nov. 1, appeared in five games for the Browns this season. The team later confirmed the move.
- Redskins tight end Derek Carrier tore his ACL and his MCL during Sunday's win against the Bears, Rapoport reported. His season is over.
- Panthers cornerback Bene' Benwikere suffered a lower leg fracture in Sunday's win vs. Atlanta, coach Ron Rivera told reporters Monday. The team announced tight end Greg Olsen (knee) and running back Jonathan Stewart (foot) "are fine" after undergoing precautionary MRIs on Monday.
- Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, coach Jim Caldwell told the media Monday. Pettigrew suffered the injury during Sunday's loss to the Rams.
- Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (kidney) says the goal is to return to practice this week, though he still doesn't feel 100 percent back yet. Luck suffered a lacerated kidney and a partial tear of an abdominal muscle during the Week 9 game against the Broncos. Luck hasn't been medically cleared to practice or play and coach Chuck Pagano said he hasn't heard anything regarding whether Luck will be able to practice this week.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (ribs) is sore and still undergoing tests Monday, but belief is there is no fractures, all soft tissues. Pagano said the hope is Hasselbeck will be ready to play Sunday against the Texans.
- The Bears have placed safety Antrel Rolle (knee) on injured reserve. Rolle suffered a non-contact MCL sprain on the final practice before the Denver game. Fox also said that wide receiver Marquess Wilson has had surgery to repair a broken bone in his left foot, according to the Chicago Tribune.
- Redskins wideout DeSean Jackson is day-to-day with a patella contusion, coach Jay Gruden told reporters. He also said right tackle Morgan Moses was evaluated for, but did not have a concussion.
- Titans running back Dexter McCluster broke his wrist in Sunday's loss to the Jets and will miss the remainder of the season, the team announced. In addition, linebacker Derrick Morgan will undergo season-ending surgery on his shoulder.
- Devin Smith's rookie season is over. The Jets wide receiver tore his ACL against the Titans and likely will be placed on injured reserve, coach Todd Bowles said.
- Ravens defensive end Chris Canty is heading to IR because of a torn pectoral muscle, coach John Harbaugh said.
- Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and defensive end Robert Ayers (neck) played against the Dolphins. Safety Brandon Meriweather (ankle) is inactive.
- Chiefs running back Spencer Ware's X-rays on his ribs were negative, Rapoport reported, per a source. However, Ware is bruised, swollen and in pain.
- Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins (concussion) was a limited participant in Monday's practice. Coach Jeff Fisher says he has one more test to pass in concussion protocol before he's cleared to play Thursday night.
- Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers suffered an ankle injury in the second half of Monday's game against the Dolphins and didn't return. Joining him on the sideline was teammate George Selvie, who didn't return after suffering a concussion.