Photo courtesy of NESN.com
With injuries piling up for the New England Patriots, another key member of the defense fell victim to the injury bug Saturday. The team placed defensive tackle Tommy Kelly on season-ending injured reserve, leaving a void in the team’s front seven.
On October 6, Kelly injured his right knee against the Cincinnati Bengals in a game the Patriots lost 13-6. He had returned to practice for the first time on Wednesday and Thursday this week, but was limited in what he could do. His absence at Friday’s practice gave the indication that there may have been a setback in his recovery.
At 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, Kelly was an intimidating presence and brought physicality to the defensive interior, playing alongside Wilfork. In the first four games of the season, he played 63 percent off the defensive snaps making an impact with his 23 tackles, 2.5 sacks, six quarterback hits and one fumble recovery.
New England is thin at the defensive tackle position and it seems as though the acquisition of Issac Sopoaga was a key pickup in light of this latest news. Joining him at the position is first-year player Marcus Forston and rookies Chris Jones and Joe Vellano.
The team used the open roster spot left by Kelly’s move to injured reserve by promoting rookie Josh Kline from the practice squad.
It is impressive to say the least how the Patriots keep on winning despite numerous injuries. However, one has to wonder if the injuries will take their toll on the team in the near future.