Julian Edelman Carted Off After Suffering Knee Injury in Preseason vs. Lions

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Focus On Sport/Getty Images

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman left Friday's preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field with a non-contact knee injury, according to The MMQB's Albert Breer

He was later carted off the field after undergoing a medical evaluation on the sideline, per CSNNE.com's Phil Perry, and didn't return.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the team fears he tore his ACL, and an MRI will determine the diagnosis on Sunday.

“We’ve played together for a long time,” quarterback Tom Brady told reporters after the game. “I think there is great chemistry in what we are doing and he is just an incredible player and teammate and we’re all hoping for the best. Hopefully he can, you know, hopefully whatever tests they have to do, come back positively. We’ll try to do our best to kind of, you know, lift his spirits if we can and see what happens.”

Richard Sherman expressed his sympathy on the potential major injury:

Edelman has transformed from a versatile, niche weapon into the Pats' most dependable receiver since the franchise selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft. He racked up 98 catches for 1,106 yards and three touchdowns during the 2016 campaign.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

He's also remained mostly durable since becoming a high-volume target in 2013. The only extended absence since then came in 2015 due to foot surgery. He played all 16 regular-season games and three playoff contests during the team's Super Bowl run last year.

If the 31-year-old Kent State product is forced to the sideline with the latest ailment, offseason acquisition Brandin Cooks figures to take over as Tom Brady's top receiver. Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola could all see some extra targets too.

Ultimately, the Patriots feature enough depth on offense to keep putting up big numbers, even without Edelman. The aerial attack probably won't be quite as efficient moving the sticks on third down until their top possession target returns, though.