New England Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe has battled a groin injury this season. He suffered the injury in week 2 against the New Orleans Saints before returning in week 4 against the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately, Rowe re-injured his groin after halftime and has missed the past three games, with no good outlook moving forward.
“Rowe remains out indefinitely with a torn groin,” CSNNE’s Mike Giardi writes in an article detailing the rise of Jonathan Bademosi. Rowe hasn’t practiced in three weeks and it’s not clear how much longer he will remain sidelined.
Depending on the severity of the groin injury and reliance on the groin for playing their position at a high level, a player could be sidelined for 4-12 weeks. If Rowe needed surgery on his groin, he probably would have already been placed on the injured reserve and declared out for the year, so we can reasonably assume his groin suffered a minor-to-medium-grade injury.
This range of injury could take anywhere from 3-8 weeks to recover, which means that we could theoretically see Rowe return to the practice field this week. But even if he returns to practice, he still might play until after the bye week (that would be my guess) to give him more time to fully heal. All of these variables are why the timeline for Rowe’s return is “indefinite.” We simply don’t know.
The longer Rowe remains sidelined, the more likely it is that the Patriots will only send the Philadelphia Eagles a 2018 fourth round pick for this trade. The Patriots acquired Rowe from the Eagles prior to the 2016 season for a conditional 2018 fourth round pick that could become a third round pick if Rowe played 50% of the snaps in either 2016 or 2017.
Rowe came under the mark in 2016 and has only played 89 snaps (21.5%) this year. If he misses any more time, his odds of hitting 50% approach zero, especially with Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Jonathan Jones, and Jonathan Bademosi all playing well in their latest appearances.
If Rowe doesn’t return until after the bye week, he’ll have to play roughly an average of 85% of the defensive snaps every week to come close to reaching 50%. That’s unlikely unless a few other cornerbacks suffer an injury and Rowe immediately returns to the starting lineup.
Hopefully Rowe can recover in the coming weeks because his size and versatility was a welcome addition to the New England secondary down the final stretch of 2016.