NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the linebacker's MCL injury was diagnosed by two doctors, who independently labeled it a two-to-three-week setback.
Rapoport was told that Hightower will return to action either this week or next after initially hurting the knee in New England's season-opening loss to the Chiefs on Sept. 7.
Troubles with the same knee also kept Hightower on the physically unable to perform list during training camp, but Monday's update should put any major concerns to bed for one of the team's most important defensive anchors.
Other injury news from this busy Monday around the league:
- Rapoport also brought word on Sam Bradford, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback who missed Sunday's 26-9 loss to the Steelers with a knee injury. "The belief was ... this was a one-week injury for Bradford," Rapoport said on Good Morning Football, while noting that getting back in the lineup still centers on how the veteran signal-caller responds to treatment this week.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported on Monday that Bradford is believed to have suffered a bone bruise, per a source. The team will see how his knee responds to an injection and they will go from there, Pelissero added.
Offensive tackleBobby Hart left after suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter Monday and linebacker J.T. Thomas also left the game early after suffering a quad injury.
- Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is expected to miss six to eight weeks with the broken foot he suffered in Sunday's win over the Bills, Rapoport reports. Olsen is a candidate for injured reserve, Rapoport added, but his injury is not believed to be season-ending. Coach Ron Rivera told reporters Monday that Olsen has already undergone surgery on his foot, though he didn't provide a timetable for return.
- Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb is day to day after undergoing an MRI exam on his injured shoulder, per Rapoport.
An MRI revealed that Green Bay's top defensive player, Mike Daniels, suffered only a minor hamstring injury, Rapoport added. Jordy Nelson's quad injury is also considered to be minor.
- The Indianapolis Colts will have to play their third consecutive game without Andrew Luck, who was ruled out for Week 3 by coach Chuck Pagano.
- Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson confirmed that wideout Corey Coleman broke his hand during Sunday's 24-10 loss to the Ravens. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, Rapoport reported, per a source. The Browns announced later Monday that Coleman underwent successful surgery to repair a fractured metacarpal in his right hand.
Linebacker Jamie Collins is in the NFL's concussion protocol.
Jackson also said that defensive end Myles Garrett is getting "closer" to returning but was not ready to officially rule him out for Sunday. Garrett suffered a high ankle sprain during practice right before the start of the season.
- Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said wideout John Brown "doesn't look hopeful" to play this week but some time to change. Brown is dealing with a quad injury.
- An MRI and CT scan revealed that Kansas City Chiefs center Mitch Morse's foot sprain will not necessitate surgery, Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the situation. Morse will be out only a few weeks.
- Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham has a sore ankle, according to coach Pete Carroll. While there is nothing wrong with his knee, Graham's status is still uncertain for Seattle's Week 3 game against Tennessee.
- San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that safety Eric Reid (knee) has been ruled out for Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Rams. Reid will not surgery on his PCL, Shanahan said. Reid, tight end George Kittle (hip), safety Jaquiski Tartt (neck) and linebacker Reuben Foster (ankle) did not practice Monday.