Philip Tor | Pats Militia
As a fan, the last news you want to hear out of training camp is the report of injured players, especially starters. Tuesday afternoon Patriots fans got the worst news possible, that two of their star players Julian Edelman and Rob Ninkovich were removed from practice after suffering injuries.
— Patriots Militia (@PatsMilitia) August 11, 2016
As reports filtered out of the locker room post-practice, new came out that Edelman would be fine and he would continue practicing in the next few days. Ninkovich however did not get so lucky.
— NFL (@NFL) August 9, 2016
It was reported by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport that Ninkovich suffered a torn triceps muscle during Tuesday’s scrimmage with the New Orleans Saints. At first the hope was that Ninkovich would return n mid-October, but after more reports were released and more information was available, it seems as if Nink could be back on the field in late September. The average return time after a triceps injury has typically been 6-7 weeks, but with the advanced medical equipment and other treatments available along with Ninkovich’s determination to get back on the field, he should be back a few weeks sooner. If there is one thing true Patriot’s fans know it is that Rob Ninkovich can not stand to be on the sideline. He want to be in the game every snap, doing everything he can to help his team win, something he’s shown in his tenure with the Patriots.
Doctors have said a realistic timetable for the Defensive End’s return is 4-6 weeks. No matter how much time is lost, there is no doubt his presence will be missed. Ninkovich has been a Patriot since the team signed him as a free agent in 2009 after stints with the Saints and the Miami Dolphins. Since 2009 Ninkovich has been the staple of consistent playing in every game since 2009, and only missing a handful of practices in the span.
Patriots starting defensive end Rob Ninkovich now is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after tearing his triceps today, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 10, 2016
With Rob Ninkovich out, Shea McClellin got more reps with the starters today
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 10, 2016
Ninkovich has had at least 6.5 sacks per season since 2011, and has had 8 sacks in each of the last three years. He is one of three players along with All-Pro’s JJ Watt and Calais Campbell to have 40 sacks and 350 tackles since 2010 (via NFL.com). Now with Ninkovich out to start the season that Patriots will look to veteran free agent signees Chris Long and Shea McClellin to pick up the snaps taken by Ninkovich. Along with Long, Jabaal Sheard will have a lot of pressure on him to put consistent pressure on the quarterback.
The Defensive Line unit could not have taken a bigger blow with the Ninkovich injury, that coupled with the departure of Chandler Jones in the off-season has put a huge dent in the top of the depth chart.
The Patriots defense has no limit for failure considering the offense will have a few bumps along the road to start the season. If the offense does go through a slump to start the year, fans will expect the young star-studded defense to pull them out of it, quickly. With players like Hightower, Collins, Butler, and Sheard leading the charge, the Patriots should be able to deal with the Ninkovich injury effortlessly. Like Belichick always says, next man up and just do your job.