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Source: Patriots LB Jamie Collins Suffered Oblique Strain; Expects to Play Next Week

Thanks to Mike Loyko, we now know why New England's star linebacker left yesterday's game.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

At one point during yesterday's divisional playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots were forced to play Jonathan Freeny, Darius Fleming and Dekoda Watson at linebacker because starters Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins were hampered by injuries.

While Hightower returned to the field, Collins - who was taken to the locker room after leaving the game in the third quarter - only made it back to the Patriots' sideline. According to NEPD's Mike Loyko, we now know why:

Source: #Patriots LB Jamie Collins has an oblique strain. Might miss some practice time, but he plans to play on Sunday in the AFCCG.

The Pro Bowler Collins is one of the best linebackers in the NFL and an integral member of New England's defense. Having him available for the AFC Championship Game would therefore be huge for the Patriots, who will play either in Denver against the Broncos or at home against the Steelers.