One year ago Patriots wide receiver was coming off of knee surgery and sporting a knee brace as a precaution to protect his surgically repaired knee.


Aaron Hernandez admitted that Wes Welker warned him about his knee brace on Sunday. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

For tight end Aaron Hernandez, he wasn’t coming off of a surgery when he took the field Sunday.  He was dealing with a sprained MCL that kept him out of action in recent weeks, but he was wearing the brace to help him get back into the line-up Sunday against New York.

The gamble paid off.  He had a mild scare in the second quarter when  Tom Brady went deep down the left sideline on a pass attempt to Hernandez, but facing pressure, Brady under threw it.  On the play the second year tight end turned around to try and come back for it, but he fell down – and as he fell backward, Jets defensive back Kyle Wilson also fell down, landing on the tight end’s knee.

Luckily he was wearing the brace, which probably protected him from suffering any further injury.

Hernandez came out in the first half and finished with 3 catches for 26 yards, but left shortly after that play and went back to the locker room in the second quarter.

Fortunately he returned and then made two key second half receptions for 21 and 9 yards.  It was a great outing, and one that they definitely needed. Luckily after the game Hernandez admitted that everything was O.K., and that Welker had warned him about his experience regarding adjusting to wearing the brace.

“Wes told me it was going to feel a little wierd,” said Hernandez. “But when you’re in the moment at a game in front of the fans out there on national TV, you kind of forget about the brace.”

Welker said last season that he couldn’t wait to get rid of it, but at the time it allowed him to do what he needed to do while wearing it.

“We’ll see where we’re at, I’m definitely ready to get rid of it,” Welker said last Sepetmber. “But at the same time we’re gonna be cautious with it. It’s a pretty bulky type knee brace, but I’m able to do what I need to do out there, and hopefully soon we’ll get it off. I’d like to be without it at some point.”

Fortunately it appears that wearing it may have prevented Hernandez from suffering any setbacks.  Between the brace and the bye week after next Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, if Hernandez gets through next weekend, it looks like the Patriots may at least get the best from their second year tight end heading into the remainder of the season.