For starting strong safety Patrick Chung, the New England Patriots’ wild card game against the Tennessee Titans ended after just 13 defensive snaps: the veteran was slow to get up after a run play in the red zone, and eventually left the field for the medical tent on the sidelines. Shortly afterwards, Chung reemerged only to head into the locker room for additional tests. He was later labeled as questionable to come back, but did not return the game.
It is not hard to see why: according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, the 32-year-old suffered a high ankle sprain on Saturday. The injury forced New England to insert backup safety Terrence Brooks into the lineup, and he promptly surrendered a touchdown to tight end Anthony Firkser. Given the injury, Brooks would likely have continued to see considerable moving forward had the Patriots not eventually lost the game against the Titans with a final score of 20-13.
The recovery time for high ankle sprains, after all, is generally seen as around four to six weeks depending on the severity of the injury. Chung would therefore likely have missed potential divisional or championship round games had New England advanced in the playoffs. But while the injury would have impacted his postseason availability, it is not expected to hurt the veteran in a meaningful way when it comes to preparations for the 2020 season.
Judged by years past, the Patriots’ offseason program will begin in mid-April which should give Chung plenty of time to return to full speed after his ankle injury.