Pats' Hightower (pectoral) out for season

Hightower-Cropped

Just how severe the injury is has not been announced by the Patriots, but according to Howe's report there's a chance that Hightower could miss game action beyond Sunday.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the influential linebacker will miss out on the Patriots attempts to retain the title they won so spectacularly in February, where he was a crucial factor.

This is a devastating blow for the Patriots, who have already lost one of their top offensive players, Julian Edelman, to a season-ending injury. Hightower has started five games this season and tallied 14 combined tackles and two quarterback sacks. "He knows this defense like the back of his hand".

"With anybody on the team, it's like, man, you never want those things to happen", Roberts said. Losing Hightower for the season hardly helps.

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The 6-foot-4, 318-pound Blackson would be the leading candidate, as it's rare for a team to be able to fall back on a practice-squad player with his experience and draft pedigree. Though Hightower was a second-team All-Pro at linebacker in 2016, 71.4 percent of his snaps this season came as an edge defender, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Patriots will be missing their key linebacker, as the 2017 Patriots defense has been marked by giving up big plays, not generating pressure, and giving up the sixth most points in the NFL.

"He's a huge part of what we do", safety Devin McCourty said. "It's a tough loss for us defensively, but it's something we'll have to overcome". "It's not just one guy, it's not just Kyle Van Noy trying to fill Hightower's (position)".

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