New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is expected to miss three weeks due to a thumb injury.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news on Monday after Edelman was pictured with a brace on his hand.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added that "Edelman's thumb injury is described as 'mild trauma' and should keep him out for just a few weeks." He provided more details Thursday:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
The injury that #Patriots WR Julian Edelman is recovering from is a broken thumb, sources say. He actually injured it playing catch three weeks ago, which is why he should miss just a few more weeks and be fine for the season. He just may not play in a preseason game, but 🤷🏽♂️.
Staying on the field has been something of a struggle at times of Edelman over the past few seasons. After missing all of 2017 with a torn ACL, Edelman missed the first four games of the 2018 regular season due to a suspension for performance-enhancing drug use.
Edelman also missed seven games in 2015 and two in 2014, meaning he has appeared in all 16 games in a single season only once in the past six campaigns.
When healthy, Edelman is a key part of the New England offense due to his ability to consistently make plays out of the slot.
He registered 98 catches for 1,106 yards and three touchdowns in his last full season in 2016, and last season he finished with 74 grabs for 850 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games.
Edelman was also a dominant force in the playoffs, and he was especially strong in the Super Bowl. In New England's 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, Edelman racked up 10 receptions for 141 yards and was named Super Bowl MVP.
After his stirring playoff performance, the 33-year-old signed a two-year extension during the offseason, thus keeping him under contract through 2021.
New England added several potential outside threats at wide receiver during the offseason, including first-round pick N'Keal Harry and veteran free-agent Demaryius Thomas, but it was clear that Edelman would continue to be the team's go-to guy out of the slot.
The timeframe will keep Edelman out of a stretch of training camp and potentially their first and second preseason games.