Potentially lost in the shuffle of Julian Edelman undergoing a knee procedure on Thursday that will sideline him for the foreseeable future was fellow Patriots star Stephon Gilmore popping up on the injury report. New England officially listed the reigning Defensive Player of the Year as a limited participant in practice due to a knee injury and now we're getting a bit more clarity on the situation. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that Gilmore tweaked his knee during Thursday's session and underwent an MRI after practice. The injury is deemed minor, but Gilmore's status for Sunday's pivotal matchup against the Buffalo Bills is not clear at this point.
At 2-4 on the season and in third place in the AFC East, New England will need this game to keep pace in the division and cling onto any hope of making a playoff push. Not having Gilmore in the fold for such a matchup to likely square up against Bills star receiver Stefon Diggs would be ill-timed, to say the least. While Gilmore has taken a step back from his DPOY form from a season ago, he's still one of the better corners that the league has to offer and would help to slow down Diggs, who has 603 yards receiving and three touchdowns coming into this contest.
This season, Gilmore has totaled 20 tackles, two passes defended, an interception, and a forced fumble.
Of course, conspiracy theorists would point this latest news surrounding Gilmore as a potential move to preserve the corner, who has been the subject of trade rumors, leading up to Tuesday's deadline. Bill Belichick was directly asked about those rumors on Wednesday and, naturally, the head coach declined to offer any substance to them.
"Steph works hard," he said of Gilmore, who is signed with the Patriots through the 2021 season. "He's always ready to go. We've changed up what he does based on our game plan and who we're matched up against, the team we're playing that particular week. But, he's a very flexible player that understands what we're trying to do and how it all fits together and works hard to do his part in it."
While those trade rumblings likely won't go away until the deadline comes and goes, the more pressing issue for New England is determining if Gilmore will be ready to roll for Sunday's make-or-break matchup with Buffalo to keep the season afloat.