Update 12/21/2020: Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore to miss rest of the 2020 season, but could be ready for offseason workouts
New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who left Sunday’s game versus the Miami Dolphins because of an injury, underwent additional testing on Monday. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, those tests revealed a partially torn quad that will force the 30-year-old to undergo surgery on Tuesday.
While the procedure will knock him out for the remainder of the 2020 season, Gilmore did not suffer any structural damage to his knee and could therefore be able to participate in New England’s offseason workout program next spring.
Original story 12/21/2020: Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore reportedly expected to miss rest of the 2020 season due to leg injury
The New England Patriots’ loss against the Miami Dolphins was a costly one, not just because it knocked the team out of playoff contention. The Patriots also lost four players to injury along the way, with none appearing to be more serious than Stephon Gilmore’s: the star cornerback stayed on the ground after a second quarter play, and was eventually unable to finish the contest with what had been announced as a knee ailment.
While it looked potentially devastating while it happened, the belief is that Gilmore escaped a serious injury. However, as Ian Rapoport noted on NFL Network on Monday morning, New England’s number one cornerback is still expected to miss the rest of the regular season because of it.
“It was initially labeled a knee injury. My understanding is it’s actually a leg injury, and not nearly as serious as it appears,” Rapoport said. “Based on where the Patriots are — out of the playoffs, now officially — Gilmore [is] expected to be done for the regular season. But he’s going to have tests today in more of the thigh/quad area, above the knee, just to see what is there, but not something where it is an injury as serious as we thought.”
Even if Gilmore will indeed miss the Patriots’ final two games against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, the fact that the injury is not considered serious is obviously encouraging news both for him and the organization. As New England turns its attention towards the 2021 offseason, Gilmore not having to rehab from a major medical issue is a positive.
The veteran cornerback once more performed at a high level before the injury, and was arguably the Patriots’ best player yet again in 2020. While he likely will not be named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year for a second straight season, Gilmore has routinely held down the fort as New England’s number one corner and been a key member of the team’s defensive backfield.
All in all, the 30-year-old will finish the season with 632 defensive snaps over 11 games — he also missed three contests because of a knee injury suffered in late October — as well as one interception.
With him now expected out for the rest of the season, the Patriots will likely once again turn to J.C. Jackson to step into the CB1 spot. The third-year man, who is ranked second in the NFL with eight interceptions, already played that role during Gilmore’s first absence this season and looked good along the way. New England also has Jason McCourty, Myles Bryant, Joejuan Williams and slot cornerback Jonathan Jones available at the position.
Gilmore, meanwhile, will be heading into the final year of his contract in 2021. Given this and his salary cap hit of $16.4 million for that upcoming season — currently the highest on the team — he appears to be a natural candidate for either an extension or possibly even a trade.