FOXBORO -- While the biggest injury of the night came when Rob Gronkowski suffered a season-ending broken left forearm in the first quarter, the Patriots lost two other players against the Texans. Both running back Danny Woodhead and defensive end Chandler Jones left the game and did not return before New England's 41-28 win went final.
Jones injured his ankle in the second half and his return was announced as "questionable." The good news on Jones is that, though he was seen limping after the game, the Boston Herald reports that he did not need to wear a walking boot as he left Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots rookie defensive end will have a chance to host his older brother Arthur, a defensive lineman for the Ravens, next week when Baltimore travels to Gillette for the AFC Championship game.
Woodhead injured his left thumb on New England's first play from scrimmage, opening up the door for Shane Vereen's big game. Woodhead was on the sidelines in the second quarter after being listed as "questionable" to return.
Though Gronkowski's injury permanently removes one of Tom Brady's most talented weapons from the Patriots offense, losing Jones and Woodhead for any amount of time would be fairly significant blows.
Jones has started every game at defensive end except for the three he missed with an ankle injury in Weeks 10 through 12.
Woodhead has been a versatile and reliable back as the senior member of the Patriots' running back group, and he was trusted enough to start the Divisional Round playoff game against the Texans until he was injured after the first play.
It will be worth watching the Patriots practice report throughout the week to monitor their statuses.
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BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”