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Patriots place LB Dont’a Hightower on the injured reserve

This move was inevitable.

NFL: New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While we’ve known this move was going to happen for a while, it is now official: the New England Patriots placed LB Dont’a Hightower on the injured reserve, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Hightower suffered a shoulder injury in week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons, but remained on the Patriots roster for week 8 against the Los Angeles Chargers and over the bye week. The Patriots knew Hightower’s season was over, but they left Hightower on the roster for the bye week hoping that Shea McClellin would be ready to take over in week 10.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, McClellin suffered a setback and is likely out for the whole year, too, which meant that the Patriots would have likely been better off moving Hightower to the injured reserve after week 7 and letting the newly-signed DL Ricky Jean-Francois have a few more weeks to learn the defensive system.

Best of luck to Hightower during his recovery.