Posted by Will Brinson
The Patriots won their season opener against the Dolphins in Miami but it came at a cost: center Dan Koppen, who left just before halftime, has a broken left ankle, according to the Boston Herald's Ian Rapoport.
"The team will run more tests tomorrow to see whether there is more damage to the ligaments or the surrounding portions of his leg," Rapoport wrote early Tuesday morning. "But, the early returns are that it may not be a complicated break. In fact, don’t rule Koppen out for the season just yet."
Koppen suffered what the Patriots called a left ankle injury at the time when Karlos Dansby fell on his leg as Koppen blocked for a Tom Brady sneak on third down late in the first half.
He screamed in pain and lay on the ground for a few minutes until a cart was brought out -- as Koppen was leaving, cameras picked him up mouthing something that didn't exactly look, um, optimistic to the medical staff. He was also seen leaving the medical room on crutches and said "We'll see" when asked about the extent of his injury.
The injury is particularly devastating for New England, as they signed Thomas Welch from the practice squad just to get to seven offensive linemen for the Monday night game.
The Dolphins Jason Taylor also suffered an ankle and/or foot injury during the first half when it appeared someone stepped on his foot; he returned to the game in the second half.
Perhaps coincidentally, as soon as Koppen left and Dan Connolly slid over to center, Wake immediately drew a holding call against rookie lineman Nate Solder and then on the next play, recorded a sack on Tom Brady.
Not coincidentally, Wake/Taylor against New England's thinned-out line was our top matchup to watch tonight. And, as we expected, the Pats have been using the heck out of two tight end sets -- they had Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski on the field for nearly every single play in the first half.
Expect to see plenty of them in the second half as well, since the loss of Koppen will require increased assistance for an extremely thin offensive line.
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