The Boston Herald indicated that it may have been a partial tear, although even that was a surprise to all after what had originally been believed to be an MCL injury that kept Mankins sidelined for New England's regular season finale.
Citing unnamed sources, the ESPNBoston report states that Mankins injured the knee in the Christmas Eve game against the Dolphins. He missed the only game due to injury a week later, but returned to play all three postseason games.
Mankins' injury and recovery add another layer of uncertainty to the Patriots offensive line. Left tackle Matt Light is reportedly considering retirement. Pro Bowl right guard Brian Waters admitted after the Super Bowl loss that he would be considering retirement.
These questions give some reasoning as to why the Patriots may have reportedly signed free agent guard and former No. 2 overall pick Robert Gallery this week. Though he never lived up to the hype as a franchise tackle-type prospect, Gallery has experience at both guard and right tackle. A product of Iowa – led by former Bill Belichick understudy Kirk Ferentz – Gallery could be an insurance policy against Light, Mankins or Waters missing time or calling it a career.
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