New England Patriots receive good news regarding Dont’a Hightower

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 07: Dont'a Hightower
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 07: Dont'a Hightower /

In addition to the New England Patriots losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, it looked like they may have suffered another bad injury.

The New England Patriots’ defense did not get off to a good start to the 2017 season, allowing 42 points in a Week 1 loss against Kansas City.

However, the good news is that linebacker Dont’a Hightower isn’t expected to miss much, if any, time due to a knee injury he suffered. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Hightower suffered a minor sprain to his MCL.

Rapoport went on to acknowledge that Hightower could suit up in Week 2 against New Orleans, because of the ten-day break in between games.

Hightower has had a history of getting injured in the past, but still inked a four-year, $35 million extension this offseason. He turned down more money from the Jets and Steelers to remain in New England.

After giving up 100+ rushing hards for the first time since 2015, the Patriots defense did not look great. Luckily the injury shouldn’t leave one of their most skilled and important players off the field. Unlike Kansas City, who lost star safety Eric Berry for the season due to a ruptured achilles.

When Hightower left the game in the third quarter, the Patriots gave up 21 points and were outscored 21-10. He played just 35 snaps all game.

Other news regarding the Patriots linebacking core, Kyle Van Noy was given a new, two-year contract extension Friday afternoon. Van Noy, who was acquired last season via trade, was set to become a free agent after this season.

Van Noy played in all 69 defensive snaps in Thursday’s loss, piling up six tackles. His versatility, ability to play off-the-line and pass-rush has benefited the Patriots. He played in 10 games after being acquired last season, recording 27 tackles, one sack, one interception and one forced fumble.

Former Patriot linebacker Akeem Ayers also was in New England Thursday for a workout. With the injury to Hightower, poor defensive play on Thursday and Shea McClellin opening the year on IR (eligible to return), a reunion with Ayers seems likely.

Next: Why did the Patriots lose to the Chiefs?

When acquired in 2014, Ayers was a successful nickel pass-rusher off the edge for Belichick’s defense. Ayers could help take on the role of McClellin as he averaged over 42 snaps per game back in 2014. He ended with 16 tackles, four sacks and an interception.