Aaron Hernandez Injury: Updates on Patriots TE's Ankle

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Aaron Hernandez #81 of the New England Patriots practices before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at Gillette Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez could be in a dicey situation after suffering an ankle injury early in Sunday's game against Arizona. 


UPDATE: Sunday, October 12 at 2:40 p.m. ET by Adam Wells

This will be welcome news for Patriots fans, though not completely unexpected based on reports that have been coming out of New England all morning, as Radio Host Adam Caplan reports that Hernandez is active for today's game against Seattle. 

TE Aaron Hernandez active today for the Patriots.

— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) October 14, 2012

Hernandez has missed the last three games with an ankle injury, during which time the Patriots have gotten back to the fundamentals on offense that made them one of the most efficient teams in the sport. 

They are running the ball a lot more, but the passing game is still there when they need it. Adding Hernandez back into the mix will make them that much more lethal when the time is right to unleash the beast. 



UPDATE: Friday, October 12 at 1:25 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald

In yet another edition of the always lively Bill Belichick news conference, the Patriots head coach was typically cryptic when discussing Hernandez's status for the Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday.

ESPNBoston.com's Mike Rodak has the latest, edge-of-one's-seat quotes from Belichick on the tight end's developing situation:

We'll just have to see how it goes here. He practiced late last week and did some things yesterday and Wednesday. We'll see how he is today and see if it set him back, or didn't set him back, and how that went. We'll have the day to evaluate it on Saturday, and we'll see where we're at on Sunday. It could be a game-time decision.

Rodak goes on to note that Belichick seemed to "catch himself" later in the news conference:

Maybe we'll know sooner, depending on what information we have today, before we leave. We'll just have to see how it goes. I don't know.

When we do know what Belichick knows for sure, we will let you know.

---End of Update---


UPDATE: Friday, October 12 at 12:25 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald

It appears that Hernandez packing his bags for the road may have inspired false thoughts of optimism for the tight end's status against Seattle, according to another report by Boston Herald beat writer Jeff Howe:

No Hernandez at practice.

— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 12, 2012


Perhaps New England is simply being cautious by keeping Hernandez sidelined, but the fact that he isn't participating on even a limited basis definitely puts a damper on Howe's earlier report. Hernandez is still making the trip, and the Seahawks are still going to need to prepare for the matchup problems he brings to the table for the Pats.

---End of Update---


UPDATE: Friday, October 12 at 11:15 a.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald

It appears Hernandez will be making the trip to Seattle in a key Week 6 showdown against the Seahawks, according to Pats beat reporter Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald:

Aaron Hernandez's travel bag is packed with pads in front of his locker.

— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 12, 2012


The fact that Hernandez is making the trip is an extremely encouraging sign for New England. The team needs all the help it can muster in Qwest Field, one of the most hostile environments in the league. Seattle's scarily athletic front seven and stellar secondary will provide a stern test.

Hernandez's versatility will allow quarterback Tom Brady and Co. to create more mismatches by testing the young Seahawks linebackers in pass coverage.

---End of Update---


UPDATE: Wednesday, October 10 at 3:10 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

It continues to look as though Hernandez will be back in action this week. He practiced on Wednesday, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN Boston:

Tight ends Aaron Hernandez (ankle) and Rob Gronkowski (hip), as well as linebacker Dont'a Hightower (hamstring) were all on the practice field on Wednesday. Hernandez and Hightower did not play in Sunday's game.

If he does play and you have him on your fantasy team, he's a must-start this week and every week after. While Seattle has a tough defense and very physical corners, the Patriots should be able to work mismatches with Hernandez and Gronkowski and each should put up solid numbers.

---End of Update---


UPDATE: Friday, October 5 at 12:05 p.m. ET by Pete Schauer

After missing practice on Thursday, NBC Sports' Chris Wesseling is reporting that Hernandez is practicing on Friday and is "very close" to seeing game action:

Source told CSN NE early in the week that Hernandez was "very close" to returning to game action. Practicing on Friday: rotoworld.com/player/nfl/567…

— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) October 5, 2012

This is great news for Hernandez and the Patriots. He's showing impeccable progress, going from a non-participant in Thursday's practice to being on the field on Friday.



UPDATE: Thursday, October 4 at 1:45 p.m. ET by Adam Wells

Despite an earlier report that Hernandez is not likely to play this week, the Boston Herald did bring some good news, reporting that the star tight end returned to practice on Thursday:

Hernandez was limping a bit after running his first route during positional drills and was testing his ankle when he was off to the side. He looked fine after a drill a few minutes later when he had to really stutter-step and plant his feet before turning for the ball.

At the very least, we can see that progress is being made, as Hernandez works his way back from an injury that has cost him the last two games. 



UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 4 at 12:20 p.m. ET by Adam Wells

In news that isn't completely surprising but still tough for the Patriots as they head into a showdown with the Denver Broncos, Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports that Hernandez is not likely to return this week:

Pregame work for NE-DEN -- Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez is a virtual certainty to miss the Bronco game, I'm told, but could be back for Wk 6.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 4, 2012

The Patriots have been able to get by without Hernandez thus far, so one more game won't hurt them too much. It will be interesting to see where this offense goes when he does return given where it has been over the last two weeks. 



UPDATE: Thursday, September 27 at 2:25 p.m. ET by Alex Kay

ESPN's Adam Schefter has some interesting news to note about the Patriots' tight end situation:

TE Kellen Winslow asked for and received release from Patriots, per source. Also sounds like Aaron Hernandez healing quicker than expected.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 27, 2012

With Winslow out of the picture, Daniel Fells is likely going to be the No. 2 tight end behind Rob Gronkowski, but that shouldn't be for much longer if Hernandez can get healthy.

We'll keep you updated right here with any more breaking news, information and updates that concern Hernandez and his trek back to the field from his ankle injury.



UPDATE: Thursday, September 27 at 10:10 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Aaron Hernandez (ankle) appears to be progressing. ESPNBoston.com's Mike Rodak and Field Yates have the latest: 

Tight end Aaron Hernandez was spotted near the entrance of the locker room, keeping it light in a brief exchange with reporters awaiting locker room access. Hernandez was not wearing anything around his injured right ankle, which could perhaps be seen as a sign that he is coming along. He previously has been spotted with a protective walking boot.



UPDATE: Sunday, September 23 at 7:16 p.m. ET by Richard Langford

Comcast SportsNet's Tom Curran passed along more information on Aaron Hernandez's ankle than I knew was even possible to attain:

Further insight on Hernandez ankle, described as "mild high-ankle sprain". Ligament runs up to calf mildly damaged but not all way up.

— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) September 23, 2012

So there you have it. No idea when he'll be back yet, but we certainly have the nature of the injury nailed down. 



UPDATE: Tuesday, September 18 at 9:30 a.m. ET

Aaron Hernandez is expected to miss four to six weeks due to his ankle injury, according to NFL.com's Marc Sessler:

"The New England Patriots will go without one of their dangerous pass-catching tight ends for at least a month.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez will miss four to six weeks with a low ankle sprain, NFL Network has learned from a source briefed on the injury."

New England reportedly signed Kellen Winslow to replace the star tight end, according to ESPN's James Walker.



UPDATE: Monday, September 17 at 4:35 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

The New England Patriots will reportedly be without tight end Aaron Hernandez for multiple games.

ESPN's James Walker reported the following:

According to the source, Hernandez likely will not return until October at the earliest. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said during Monday's news conference that he did not have an update on Hernandez's status.

This leaves the Patriots without one of their most dangerous weapons in the passing game as they head into a Week 3 showdown with the Baltimore Ravens.



UPDATE: Monday, September 17 at 9:45 a.m. ET by Adam Wells

The news goes from bad to worse for the Patriots. After losing a heartbreaker against the Arizona Cardinals at home on Sunday, Field Yates of ESPN Boston is reporting that Hernandez will have an MRI today to determine the full extent of his injury. 

Maybe it was just a one-game anomaly, but the Patriots looked completely disorganized in that loss. Credit the Cardinals defense for stepping up, though you have to wonder if the Patriots will take a step back this season. 

Wes Welker isn't starting, the offensive line is having all sorts of issues and now the Hernandez injury makes things very interesting in New England. 



UPDATE: Sunday, September 16 at 6:39 p.m. ET by Richard Langford

Pro Football Talk tweeted out the latest on Hernandez's recovery timetable, and it is not promising. 

Source with knowledge says Pats tight end Aaron Hernandez could miss up to six weeks with ankle injury.

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 16, 2012

With the last update, see below, indicating that Hernandez did not break his ankle but was headed for an MRI on Monday, this new report comes as a bit of a surprise. But Pro Football Talk does not typically miss on reports like this, so there is no reason to doubt the validity. 



UPDATE: Sunday, September 16 at 5:30 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

Earlier reports that indicated Hernandez did not break his ankle appear to be correct. However, as Jason La Canfora of CBS reports, Hernandez isn't out of the woods just yet:

Pats TE Aaron Hernandez likely to have an MRI on his injured ankle Monday. Ot is not broken but could end up as a significant sprain

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 16, 2012

The key words Hernandez and the Patriots will hope to be avoiding are "high ankle sprain" given this news. After a shocking 20-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the last thing the Patriots can afford is to lose one of their most important offensive players.



UPDATE: Sunday, September 16 at 2:40 p.m. ET by Adam Wells

While the full extent of the injury is not yet known, there does appear to be some good news for Hernandez and the Patriots. 

According to a report from the Boston Herald, Hernandez did not appear to break his ankle when he and Edelman got tangled together:

Aaron Hernandez’s right ankle is not broken, according to a source, and signs are pointing toward it being a sprain. However, details are still not perfectly clear on the severity, so stay tight on that.

We will likely have to wait until after the game, if not later, to hear exactly what is wrong with Hernandez and a potential timetable to return. It should be a fun Bill Belichick press conference, as always. 



As Albert Breer of the NFL Network reported, Hernandez's leg got caught up with teammate Julian Edelman, and he went down:

Aaron Hernandez down, leg crumpled under teammate Julian Edelman.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 16, 2012

John Clayton of ESPN chimed in with an update on how Hernandez looked as he was going to get checked out:

Aaron Hernandez has an ankle injury. heading to lockerroom. Will update. Couldn't put weight on right leg.

— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) September 16, 2012

According to the Patriots' official Twitter account, Hernandez is listed as "questionable" to return to the game:

Injury update from the Patriots sideline: Aaron Hernandez has an ankle injury & his return is questionable.

— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 16, 2012

Even though Rob Gronkowski gets all of the headlines because he has a flashier personality, the Patriots offense relies so heavily on those two-tight end sets that if Hernandez is out for an extended period of time, it could change a lot of what Tom Brady and Co. do. 

We will keep you updated on Hernandez's injury and his status for the future as more information becomes available. 

Follow @adamwells1985


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