The New England Patriots suffered a tremendous loss as linebacker Dont’a Hightower is out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle.
He injured his shoulder in Sunday’s 23-7 statement victory against the Atlanta Falcons when he tackled running back Devonta Freeman.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport first reported on Wednesday that Hightower would not play in Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers – and the team announced later in the day that they signed linebacker Trevor Reilly to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.
On Thursday morning, Rapoport reported on Twitter that Hightower would miss the entire season with the torn pectoral muscle.
This is not the first time the linebacker has been injured this season. On Sept. 7, in the Pats’ season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Hightower injured his MCL, which led to him to missing two games.
In 2014, he missed two games with a torn labrum in his right shoulder but played through the pain and into the playoffs.
After Hightower returned to the defense after his knee sprain in Week 5, the team allowed just 12.7 points-per-game whereas they were giving up 32 points-per-game through Week 4 – so to say he has had a significant impact on defense is an understatement.
So far this season, Hightower has 14 tackles and two sacks. Seven of those tackles came in the Week 6 win against the New York Jets.