Today started with the Pats’ high-priced new cornerback missing his third consecutive game with some combination of ankle/concussion issues and ended with Chris Hogan being knocked out of the game with what is being announced as a right shoulder injury
Photo courtesy of BostonHerald.com
The above picture is allegedly of Stephon Gilmore practicing. I say “allegedly”, because although he has apparently been a participant (albeit limited) in practice recently, that’s all we have to go on, as he was a late and somewhat unexpected scratch for the Chargers game today. Gilmore has been a bit of a medical mystery for the last month, as he played in the Bucs game, practiced the following week, but cropped up suddenly with concussion symptoms the day before the Jets game and missed that week. A combination of that and an ankle injury have kept him from seeing game action for the last three weeks, and the apparently sudden appearance of his symptoms combined with his up-and-down play (Ok, terrible, he was terrible) have led to an abundance of conspiracy theories. Were the Pats holding him out with a phantom injury so he could learn the playbook better? Was he in fact good to go but was being held out so we could all get more Johnson Bademosi in our lives? Was there something even more nefarious at play?
Ok, maybe not the last one. Personally, I think that Gilmore was probably close to playing but with the less-than-ideal field conditions in Foxboro today the Patriots opted to hold him out another week with the bye looming next weekend to get him as close to 100% as possible before the stretch run. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t play in Denver on November 12th. Unless, that is, Bademosi goes full Gillogly on him between now and then, in which case all bets are off.
Chris Hogan injured his right shoulder on this fourth quarter play (image courtesy of BostonGlobe.com)
In today’s game, the Pats’ already-thin wide receiver core took another hit when Chris Hogan went down hard when he was hit in the fourth quarter. At the end of a completion, Hogan was taken down hard by Chargers linebacker Hayes Pullard. Hogan was hit hard on the side of the right shoulder and was clearly in pain and was slow to get up. When he did leave the field, accompanied by Patriots medical personnel, his right arm was hanging limply at his side. After a short period on the bench he returned to the locker room and did not return for the rest of the game. Post-game reports indicated that Hogan was in a sling for his right arm and that he would be undergoing a right shoulder MRI tomorrow.
By my view of the play, it seems likely that Hogan suffered a right AC joint injury – he was hit directly on the side of the shoulder and had obvious, immediate pain. Injuries to the acromioclavicular (AC) joint of the shoulder usually occur with a direct fall onto the shoulder (Jimmy Garopollo last year) or a blow to the side of the shoulder, as in Hogan’s case. This type of injury is very painful and usually results in at least some games lost. For an in-depth look at this type of injury, I wrote about it recently in connection with Tom Brady’s left shoulder: https://chrisgearyortho.com/2017/10/11/tom-brady-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-ac-joint/
With the tweets that Hogan was in a sling and going for an MRI tomorrow, Patriots fans immediately feared the worst. I feel that in this case, as bad as it looked, the Pats and Hogan may have dodged a bullet. The sling is used for comfort with any shoulder injury, big or small, and MRIs are done for almost any soft-tissue injury to a joint in high-profile athletes. If my supposition is correct and Hogan does indeed have an AC joint sprain he will likely miss between 2-6 weeks depending on the grade of the injury and his response to treatment but he should be back this season with no long-term effects. Hogan, interestingly, is left-handed, so he should have no problem throwing the WR option pass when he returns (shades of Julian Edelman in 2014 vs the Ravens). Fingers crossed that I’m correct and tomorrow’s scan shows no additional damage – we may see Hogan back in time for the next Pats home game in late November.