The New England Patriots were eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday when they lost 22-12 to the Miami Dolphins. To add to the issues, the Patriots lost reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore to a leg injury in the second half.
Stephon Gilmore, who is now in the blue medical tent, seemed to slip and tweak his right knee. God I hope he is ok pic.twitter.com/MgAWvNip07
— Casey Baker (@CaseyBake16) December 20, 2020
Initially, it looked like a serious knee injury, but after further details, it may not have been as bad as originally thought, and it was his leg, not his knee.
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Thankfully, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport, Gilmore may have avoided serious injury.
Source: #Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore actually did not suffer a knee injury and the leg injury may not be as serious as it may have looked. He’ll have tests tomorrow.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 20, 2020
That’s great news for the Patriots and Gilmore, specifically.
He’s coming off a 2019 season that saw him win Defensive Player of the Year. While he did get a nice raise from the Patriots this season, and a new endorsement deal with Jordan Brand before the start of the campaign, Gilmore still hasn’t cashed in on the best stretch of his career.
He had been playing excellent football over the past few weeks since returning from a knee injury earlier in the year. When he hit the ground due to a non-contact injury, many feared the worst.
If the second bit of news is more true than the first, Gilmore will have avoided having major insult added to injury as his team’s postseason hopes are now officially gone.
Almost Certainly Out for the Season
With the playoffs off the table and some level of recovery needed, Gilmore is almost assuredly done for the season.
The Patriots have division games remaining against the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets, so there will be some level of intensity in the final two contests, but it’s probably not enough for Gilmore to play hurt–even if he could go at less than 100%.
That wouldn’t be a wise decision unless he’s somehow miraculously 100 percent by the middle of the week and able to participate in practice.
Gilmore is even more likely to call it a season considering there have been rumors he will be traded in the offseason.
Another Opportunity for J.C. Jackson to Prove He’s a No. 1 Corner
Earlier this season, J.C. Jackson was up and down in the role as a No. 1 corner while Gilmore was out with the aforementioned knee injury. Jackson is among the league leaders in interceptions. He had his eighth pick of the season on Sunday to help turn the Dolphins back on an early red zone visit.
Most believe he has what it takes to command the role. The final two weeks of the season will likely serve as his secondary audition if Gilmore misses time as it appears is likely.
That absence could also open the door for corners’ Johnathan Jones and undrafted rookie Myles Bryant to prove their ability to step up on the depth chart. Prepare for two weeks of transition and tryouts on the field as the Patriots are forced to find the secondary motivation to finish the season.
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