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Breaking: Patriots DL Dominique Easley Suffers AC Joint Separation Injury

The Patriots first round pick is suffering from a relatively minor injury.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots first round pick defensive lineman Dominique Easley is suffering from an AC Joint Separation, per the Herald's Jeff Howe. Before anyone overreacts, this is considered a minor injury, but one that forced Easley out of the game. Easley had started and played every snap prior to the injury, which occured on a late whistle and on an illegal block in the back.

Howe believes Easley could be ready to play this week against the Bills.

The injury occurs when there's excessive force falling upon the shoulder, like when he drilled a Bengals player and did a post-hit karate punch. There is little longterm impact from the injury, especially one considered minor, and there is likely not a need for surgery.

Most minor cases are fully healed within three weeks, with the more minor cases healing within days, although it can trend up to six weeks if it's slightly more severe.

It's entirely possible Easley wears a sling for the next week to improve the healing process, and it's possible that he'll miss the Bills game to play it safer for the long run.

Regardless, the Patriots are thin on the defensive line, having moving Joe Vellano to the practice squad and Michael Buchanan to the injured reserve, while Chandler Jones and flex play Dont'a Hightower both recover from injuries.