Several notable players have gone down with injuries during today’s games — Alex Mack is expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a leg injury, 2013 first-rounder Dee Milliner likely tore his Achilles, and we’re still waiting for details on what looked like a serious injury to Jerod Mayo. In addition to Mayo, the Patriots have probably lost another key player, running back Stevan Ridley, to a torn ACL. Albert Breer of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that Ridley will have an MRI tomorrow, but New England fears the 25-year-old has a significant knee injury, one that will likely knock him out for the rest of 2014. As further evidence, Mike Petraglia of WEEI posted an Instagram photo of Ridley leaving the stadium using a cane and wearing a large ACL brace on his right knee.
Ridley, a 2011 third-round pick out of LSU, has never missed a game due to injury. He was inactive for two contests last year, but those absences were due to Ridley’s infamous fumbling issues rather than an injury. Despite the fumbles, Ridley has had a largely successful career, mostly as a power back who offers little in the passing game. His best season came in 2012, when he rushed 290 times for 1,263 times and 12 touchdowns. Ridley is earning a tad under $800K this year as he plays under the final year of his rookie contract. It’s tough to speculate on financial matters right after a player suffers a serious injury, but it’s fair to wonder how this major injury will affect Ridley’s market come free agency.
Passing-game specialist Shane Vereen will likely take over as New England’s primary runner. The Pats also have Brandon Bolden and 2014 fourth-round pick James White on the roster, so it’s not as though the Pats lack internal options. I’d expect Vereen to get the majority of the carries going forward, with Bolden and White sprinkled in, especially near the goal line.