It has been hard to find negatives at times for the New England Patriots this season.
But injuries have certainly been one and have taken their toll on the offense specifically. On Sunday, with fullback James Develin and tight end Matt LaCosse inactive, the Patriots may have suffered another injury to a key member of their offense.
Julian Edelman was hurt at the tail-end of the first half while diving to try to extend a short passing play. He was hit by a trio of New York Jets’ defenders and came up favoring the left side of his upper body.
After staying in for another play in which he was unable to engage a defender, he walked slowly off the field and straight to the locker room as the first half expired. Edelman was not on the sidelines when the second half began.
Edelman had already caught a touchdown pass in the game — Tom Brady’s 524th of his career — and had been causing problems for a struggling Jets secondary. He had seven catches for 62 yards in the first half.
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The Patriots released an update on Edelman shortly after the start of the third quarter, announcing Edelman was questionable to return with a chest injury. He was later downgraded to out during the third quarter.
There was an inkling that Edelman was struggling to breathe after being hit hard, but the receiver, who is one of the toughest players in football, remained in the game.
A chest injury could mean something affecting the ribs for Edelman. When he walked off the field he looked to be holding his left arm close to his chest as he approached the sideline.
Pro Football Doc David Chao, on his halftime periscope on Twitter, gave an unofficial diagnosis. He felt the injury wasn’t serious and that Edelman could even return as early as the third quarter. On his view of the play, it appeared to be a costochondral injury to his ribs.
The Patriots were using a steady diet of passing plays against the Jets defense. The first eight plays New England ran were all passes, and Brady attempted 28 in the first half alone.
Edelman, who is a real hot commodity in PPR leagues, already had seven catches on Brady’s 19 completions for 62 yards and touchdown — close to or over 20 fantasy points depending on the league system.
Losing Edelman in a game where the Patriots had been employing short passing routes using Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, and running back Rex Burkhead is a major loss that might cause the New England offense to sputter.
If you have Edelman on your fantasy team, given New England’s already sizeable lead, he might be done for the day. But don’t fret for a long-term effect. At most, knowing Edelman’s grit and determination, it might take only a week or two to recover.
But New England’s receiving corps is deep, so if he is to miss some time and you’re looking for a replacement on the Patriots, go with Phillip Dorsett, who had also caught a touchdown in the first half against the Jets.