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Injury update: Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower out for the season with a pec injury

The Patriots defensive captain is down and out.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

That escalated quickly. Within the span of a day, New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower downgraded from missing practice and possibly missing “a bit” of time with a shoulder injury, to also suffering an injury to his pectoral muscle, to now being out for the rest of the season according to multiple reports.

While CSNNE’s Mike Giardi reported that Hightower was dealing with a pectoral issue with unknown severity, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer added that Hightower’s pec “is what caused teams to back off him in March,” when Hightower was going through medical examinations in free agency.

And then NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport dropped the hammer.

“Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower has a torn pec and is out for the year, source said,” Rapoport tweeted. “For the #Patriots, LB Dont’a Hightower (torn pec) is their rock on D, their leader and communicator. Losing him for the season is brutal.”

This is just awful, awful, awful news. Hightower is the leader of the defense and every player on the team respects what he brings to the team on and off the field. We wish him a speedy recovery and a long career.

With Hightower expected to be gone for the rest of the year, LB Kyle Van Noy will have to step forward into an even greater leadership role. For this upcoming week against the Los Angeles Chargers, look for veteran LB David Harris and sophomore LB Elandon Roberts to see bigger roles. The Patriots could also use EDGE Cassius Marsh on some snaps, too.

Shea McClellin should return after the bye week to take over Hightower’s old position.

I hate injuries. Get well soon, Boomtower.