Barring an unexpected change, Patriots defensive lineman Ron Brace will be placed on season-ending injured reserve on Monday. Brace has been dealing with an elbow injury the past few weeks. His loss will hurt an already shallow defensive front. Mike Wright, who has been out since Nov. 21 with a concussion has yet to return. If Wright returns he will most likely be the top candidate to start next to Warren and Wilfork.

This move creates a roster spot as linebacker Brandon Spikes returns from a four-game suspension. Spikes return will be a lift for the Pats run support and tackling, as they have struggled in both areas in his absence. The rookie has been solid in both areas through three-quarters of the season. Gary Guyton, who replaced Spikes during his suspension, will most likely go back into his passing down role.

**Update**

The New England Patriots announced Monday that defensive lineman Ron Brace has been placed on injured reserve with an elbow injury and that DL Lorenzo Washington has been released from the practice squad.