It’s been a rough summer for the Patriots’ front four, which battled all sorts of injuries and absences. Now comes word the unit’s most prolific pass-rusher may miss opening day.
Sources tell Jeff Howe for the Boston Herald that defensive end Jabaal Sheard has been dealing with a sprained MCL since the Patriots’ first preseason game on Aug. 11. While the injury is not described as “overly serious” in the report, the recovery could be anywhere from 2-6 weeks depending on the severity, which is unknown.
The longer end of that time frame puts Sheard in doubt for the Patriots’ clash with a tough Cardinals team on Sept. 11. They’re already down quarterback Tom Brady for the matchup, and the defense has been dealing with various issues up front to Alan Branch, Rob Ninkovich and Shea McClellin.
Sheard is potentially the biggest loss of all. With 8.0 sacks in 2015, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound end is the biggest threat to opposing quarterbacks after the Patriots traded Chandler Jones to their Week 1 opponent during the offseason.
On the bright side, the two-week time frame would have Sheard ready to go before the Patriots meet the Cardinals, so it’s not time to panic just yet.