According to Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald, Patriots left guard Logan Mankins suffered a sprained MCL in the Patriots' 27-24 victory over the Dolphins on Saturday, and has an eye on a return for the playoffs:
Patriots guard Logan Mankins suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee in Saturday's win over the Dolphins, I'm told by a source. The Pro Bowler will miss Sunday's regular season finale against the Bills, but he is targeting a return for the playoffs.
Mankins was hit in the left knee with a helmet on Saturday, which knocked him out of the game in the first quarter. He wanted to return, but when his knee stiffened up coach Bill Belichick wouldn't allow it. Mankins was wearing a small knee brace, which likely saved him from a more serious injury. He was in the process of putting on a larger brace when he was trying to get back into the game.
Obviously, this news isn't great, but it isn't terrible either. Mankins is a tough player, and I'm sure he will do everything in his power to return to the Patriots for their divisional playoff match-up.
In the mean time, the Patriots will be a little thin along the offensive line, depending upon the seriousness of the injury suffered to left tackle Matt Light. If Light isn't able to go Sunday against the Bills, the Patriots will likely be forced to start rookie Nate Solder at left tackle and Marcus Cannon at right tackle.
Guard/tackle Donald Thomas substituted for Mankins last week at left guard, and he is a leading candidate to start at that spot against the Bills on Sunday. The Patriots could also choose to start Dan Connolly at left guard and Ryan Wendell at center - Connolly played well at the left guard spot when Logan Mankins was a hold out in 2010.