FOXBORO -- The Patriots' most versatile weapon may be in disrepair for a while. Aaron Hernandez had his lower right leg rolled up on a second-and-9 play with 7:03 left in the first quarter. Hernandez was blocking downfield for Julian Edelman on the left sideline when Edelman was tackled into Hernandez's leg. Hernandez was announced as having an ankle injury and his return was deemed questionable. Watching the replay, it did appear that Hernandez avoided a compound fracture which occurs when the leg or ankle completely gives and the bone snaps. The concern immediately becomes that Hernandez suffered a high ankle sprain and will be sidelined for an extended period. Last season, Hernandez missed two games with a sprained MCL and, even after his return, took some time to round back into form. The Patriots' reliance on Hernandez's versatility is well-documented. He lines up at wideout, tight end, slot receiver and in the backfield. The Patriots won't be crippled by his absence, given the array of weapons they have. But he's so unique there is no direct backup to him.
Tom E Curran explains why the delay reported by the AP is only the beginning. Tom Brady's appeal process could last until the fall.