Julian Edelman may still be on the field, but the New England Patriots wide receiver is risking serious injury by doing so.
The veteran wide receiver was able to play through a left knee injury during the Patriots’ Week 15 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday — but he did so with risk. The 33-year-old wide receiver had his worst game of the season, catching just two passes for nine yards. He also played in just 62 percent of the offensive snaps — his second-lowest total of the season.
That would be because according to Michael Giardi of the NFL Network, Edelman received treatment three times a day ahead of Sunday’s game versus the Bengals.
Edelman was listed as questionable heading into the Week 15 tilt versus the Bengals after missing Wednesday’s practice. He was a limited participant during Thursday and Friday’s practices.
“He was in some serious difficulty all week long, in some pain, as he did some damage to the tendon in his left knee,” Giardi said. “He was getting treatment three times a day to try to be on the field, and he managed to get on the field. But he clearly wasn’t himself.”
The Pats Should Have Sat Edelman Versus Bengals
While the Patriots were able to pull off the victory to end a two-game losing streak, they did so against the worst team in the league — the 1-13 Bengals. Considering New England’s defense picked off Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton four times in the game, the Patriots would have been just fine without Edelman playing.
In other words, if there was a week for Edelman to rest the tendon injury in his left knee, Week 15 was likely the time to do it. Now, the Patriots face their biggest game of the season in Week 16 against the Buffalo Bills with the AFC East crown on the line. Making matters worse, they play the game on Saturday instead of Sunday.
“He is one of the toughest guys around. His teammates really admire him,” Giardi added. “But I think there was a point there where some of his teammates were like, ‘Maybe this wasn’t the game for him to play in.’ And now they’ve got the short week to get ready for Buffalo. And look, that Buffalo Bills defense is outstanding, and if Julian Edelman can’t give you something like he’s done prior to last week, it could be trouble.”
How Severe is Edelman’s Injury?
Dr. Jessica Flynn — who writes about injury matters for Boston Sports Journal — says that Edelman is risking the worsening of the tear or a complete rupture of the tendon.
“If the tendon is weakened by tendonitis or partial tearing, there is a risk of worsening of the tear or complete rupture of the tendon,” Flynn wrote Monday. “Unfortunately, we are unable to predict when or if that will happen, but it is often preceded by symptoms of tendonitis. A fully torn patellar tendon requires surgery, has a prolonged recovery, and a return to the previous level of play in the NFL is very, very difficult. On average, a full patellar tendon tear is much more difficult to recover from than an ACL tear.”
The 11th-year receiver ranks fourth in the NFL in receptions (92) and leads with the Patriots with 1,019 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
In other words, despite the fact he’s risking serious long-term damage and a career-threatening injury, Edelman is not going to sit any games as New England desperately needs Tom Brady’s favorite target on the field.