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Injury update: Patriots LB Shea McClellin “likely out for 2017”

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The Patriots could use McClellin on defense.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots fans expecting LB Shea McClellin to replace LB Dont’a Hightower on defense might have to wait a little bit longer, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

McClellin “isn’t expected to return off IR anytime soon,” according to Garafolo’s sources. McClellin was eligible to return to the field this week after starting the season on the injured reserve, but it will take be more time before he’s able to play.

And seconds after Garafolo issued this report, his coworker Ian Rapoport dropped an even bigger declaration.

McClellin apparently suffered a setback with Rapoport stating the linebacker is “likely out for 2017.”

That’s a huge loss for the Patriots as they look to replace Hightower on defense and find stability for the second half of the season. It looks like Cassius Marsh and Trevor Reilly could have bigger roles down the stretch.

We wish McClellin the best on his recovery.

EDIT: The Herald’s Jeff Howe has more information on McClellin’s injury.

“Shea McLellin suffered a setback in practice while trying to return from injured reserve. Was placed on IR due to concussion, per source,” Howe tweeted. “McClellin’s setback will shelve him for the foreseeable future, potentially even the season, per source.”

Hopefully McClellin can make a full recovery. Head injuries are serious and he should take as much time away as necessary.