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New England Patriots Linebacker Dont'a Hightower Injury Update

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Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower was spotted at practice on Wednesday after leaving with a rib injury early on against the Dallas Cowboys. The injury appeared to occur when linebacker Jamie Collins and running back Joseph Randle landed on top of Hightower.

Hightower is a leader on the Patriots and he was playing a crucial role inside and outside of the defensive alignment. The Patriots tagged Jonathan Freeny as Hightower's back-up, but that could have more to do with game plan and skill set than Freeny actually jumping Jerod Mayo in the depth chart.

While the Patriots have lost left tackle Nate Solder for the season with a torn bicep, the quick return of Hightower to the practice field is a great sign. The star linebacker is a tough player; he tore his labrum against the Packers in the middle of the 2014 season, but managed to stick around and make a key goal line tackle to help New England win the Super Bowl.

We wish Hightower a speedy recovery.