The Patriots arguably had their best defensive performance of the season on Sunday night, but it sounds like it might have come at a high cost.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, linebacker Dont’a Hightower suffered a torn pectoral and it will reportedly end his season, which is a devastating blow for a defense that has been in need of stability.
#Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower has a torn pec and is out for the year, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 26, 2017
Hightower already seemingly caught one break back on September 7th after having an offensive lineman land on the back of his leg against Kansas City. His leg was bent awkwardly and he came off the field and then was seen on the stationary bike, which was huge given the initial fears after seeing the replay.
As for the pectoral injury, that appeared to have happened in the third quarter against the Falcons when Hightower reached back to try and make a tackle on Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman. He went down immediately after the play and looked to be in a significant amount of pain.
— Brett (@BrettPats) October 25, 2017
For now, the Patriots are going to have to regroup, although they’re no stranger to being without the veteran linebacker after Hightower was sidelined against New Orleans and Houston. Prior to Sunday night’s game, he had been seeing his workload increase over the last couple of weeks. He played in 34/57 snaps against Atlanta before going down and was coming off his highest snap total from the previous week after he played 69/76 (91%) against the Jets.
The Patriots are currently preparing to take on the Chargers on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.