The Patriots announed on Tuesday that they have placed offensive lineman Nick Kaczur on injured reserve, opening up a roster spot for recently acquired receiver Deion Branch.

Kaczur suffered a back injury that required surgery during training camp, and most thought he would likely be out for the season.¬† However he wasn’t placed on injured reserve when the team made their final roster cutdown, and up until two weeks ago it was believed he’d be back after head coach Bill Belichick said he was “closer” to getting back into the line-up.

“Nick’s obviously a lot closer to being back than he was two months ago,” Belichick told Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald back on October 1st. “We still have a lot of football left. We’ll see how it goes.”

Apparently it didn’t go well, and now Kaczur’s season is over.

Teammate Dan Connolly has filled in admirably after taking over for Kaczur following his injury, doing a great job of protecting Tom Brady in the passing game, and also opening up holes in their running game.  Both players were trying to fill the void left by Logan Mankins, who continues to hold out thanks to his contract dispute.