The scene was eerily reminiscent of New England's 2008 season-opener against Kansas City. Only this time, the Patriots' defensive star was the one limping off the field with an injured knee, not its franchise QB.
]()Just minutes into Monday night's 25-24 come-from-behind victory over the Buffalo Bills, Pats linebacker and reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Jerod Mayoleft the game and was treated on the sidelines for an injury to his right knee. He then retreated to the New England locker room and did not return to the field or the sideline.
Word from the press box at the time was that Mayo's return to action was "questionable."
A day later, it remains so.
When asked directly during a conference call if Mayo's injury was of a season-ending nature, Patriots head coach Bill Belichickoffered at least a glimmer of hope.
"I don't think that's what it is," he responded.
Beyond that, Belichick did not elaborate on his star defender's condition or prognosis for the final 15 games of the regular season.
"[Wednesday], when we have the practice report, I'm going to provide you with the details of that," he added.
Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caseriofollowed Belichick on the round of conference calls late Tuesday and was asked if the team is considering adding a linebacker to compensate for Mayo's absence, however long that might be.
"We'll evaluate what the alternatives might be, whether that's internally or externally," Caserio answered, without offering much more detail. Defensive coordinator Dean Peesreinforced that point during his Tuesday conference call.
"Nothing's out of the realm of what we might try to do," he declared.
Both Belichick and Pees also claimed that Mayo's loss didn't force them to alter significantly the team's game plan for defending against Buffalo's offense.
"We always have a contingency plan with various players that back up other players at different positions … everybody kind of learns a couple of different spots," Pees explained.
"You just put the backup in and move somebody over or somebody else up. The guys on the sideline know that plan. We go through it during the week at some point during practice. We certainly could have done better things on the field. It's always hard when a guy hasn't practiced that position all week. But, for the most part, they understand what to do ... That's part of football."