The New England Patriots suffered some injuries in their 31-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, with the one suffered by Kendrick Bourne among the most seriously-looking. The extent of his injury is not known yet, and the veteran wide receiver will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the potential damage.
According to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, however, the “hope is it’s an MCL injury” based on initial testing.
Bourne went down after catching a short pass in the early fourth quarter, immediately holding his right knee in pain. He gingerly walked off the field under his own power and after a short stay in the blue medical tent headed for the locker room. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game shortly thereafter.
While the extent of his injury has yet to be determined, losing Bourne for any extended period of time would be a blow to an already struggling defense. The 28-year-old, after all, has been New England’s most consistent and productive pass catcher this season.
In eight games so far, he led the team with 37 receptions for 406 yards and four touchdowns. He caught three passes for 36 and one score versus Miami.
His knee injury now puts a question mark not just over his ability to add to those numbers, but his future as well: Bourne is in the final year of his contract with the Patriots, and scheduled to enter unrestricted free agency next March.
After he had left the game, the Patriots gave increased snaps to fellow wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The offseason pickup, who arrived via a three-year contract, was himself coming off an injury-related two-week absence. He ended up catching one 3-yard touchdown in his return from a concussion.
In case Bourne is forced to miss time, Smith-Schuster is a prime candidate to see increased opportunities again.