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Injury update: Patriots center Ted Karras believed to have suffered MCL sprain; hope is that he can return this season

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Some potentially good news on the injury front.

NFL: NOV 17 Patriots at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots had a hard time consistently moving the football against the Houston Texans during their 28-22 loss on Sunday night, and it did not help that one of their starting offensive linemen went down with an injury just five minutes into the third quarter: while pass blocking on a 2nd and 5, Ted Karras’ right knee was rolled up on and the Patriots’ center remained on the ground before slowly getting up and jogging off the field.

Karras, who had played 100 percent of New England’s offensive snaps this season leading up to the game in Houston, went into the medical tent on the sidelines and when he exited it again headed straight to the locker room with a brace on his right knee. He eventually did not return: the Patriots shortly afterwards ruled the 26-year-old out because of a knee injury — one that is believed to be a sprained MCL, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

While Karras will undergo an MRI later today to confirm the injury and its severity, the hope is that he will be able to return to the field later this season. The question is when, which depends on the degree of the sprain. According to Jessica Flynn M.D. of the Boston Sports Journal, a mild sprain might keep New England’s starting center out for only a week — with further damage to the bone potentially increasing his time on the sidelines.

Either way, it seems as if Karras and the Patriots have dodged a bullet. Until the former sixth-round draft pick, who himself is filling in for original starting center David Andrews since the veteran was lost for the year because of blood clots in his lungs, returns to the lineup, New England will likely move forward with backup James Ferentz. The 30-year-old filled in against the Texans and already started a game in place of right guard Shaq Mason earlier this year.