By: Derek Havens
The New England Patriots announced on Tuesday afternoon they have placed running back Shane Vereen on injured reserve with designation to return.
The third-year running back, who rushed for a career-high 101 yards in Sunday’s win against the Buffalo Bills, will not be eligible to return for the next eight weeks. The earliest he can return for the Patriots is week 11, which is a Monday Night Football contest against the Carolina Panthers. Keep in mind, the team has a bye week in week 10.
Vereen reportedly broke a bone in his wrist at some point during the first quarter, but continued to play the rest of the game. He had surgery on Monday to repair the damage and will now spend the next two months recovering.
Analysis: Vereen’s injury is just the latest in a laundry list of health issues for the team. No question the Patriots are struggling finding healthy players who can suit up early on in 2013. New England’s injury woes will need to be overcome quickly in order to still be able to put themselves in position to make a late season charge.
Vereen’s injury hurts the Patriots in several ways. With fellow tailback Stevan Ridley’s ball security questions, Vereen’s dependability and effectiveness in the offense was a big solution. Vereen showed his ability when being thrust into the starting role Sunday, totaling 159 total yards.
With wide receiver Danny Amendola fighting a right groin injury, tight end Rob Gronkowski still recovering from off-season back surgery, among other players banged up, New England is more vulnerable than they have been in the last decade. On top of that, they’re a very young team, which typically means thin along the depth chart. It will take a group effort at several positions, including running back, to make up the lost production.
The Patriots will be facing an uphill battle the next few weeks trying to put the pieces together.