Matthew Judon, who suffered a torn bicep against the Cowboys in Week 4, is among the long list of injured players the Patriots have had this season. At the time, it wasn't considered season-ending, and Judon underwent surgery to repair the muscle not long after the game.
But now, with just two games left on the schedule, it seems less likely the linebacker will make his triumphant return to the field this year.
It's a pretty dramatic turn of events, as the news that he could return in early December was a sign of relief when first reported. Judon was already on the path to having another career year, even through just four games. He recorded 13 combined tackles, five for a loss, nine quarterback hits, a safety, and four sacks.
He was easily the best defensive player on the field outside of Christian Gonzalez, who was a rookie on fire before he, too, went down with an injury against the Cowboys. Judon's presence has been sorely missed, especially regarding the pass rush. In his absence, others have struggled to fill the void. Fortunately, the rise of Christian Barmore recently has helped a lot, but the impact of Judon is still missing.
Now that December is just about over, it seems clear the Patriots sack leader won't be suiting up again in 2023. He has made his desire to get back on the field clear numerous times in recent weeks, which he did again with an Instagram post on Christmas Eve.
He posted a slideshow of photos of him from games this season with the caption, "You know what I want for Christmas."
It's a simple yet direct statement to the team, seemingly letting them know he feels good enough to play again and, at the same time, telling the fans the decision is no longer up to him.
It's difficult to figure out why Belichick would be against having Judon return from injury other than they're in the midst of a losing season and are already eliminated from the playoffs, so bringing him back and risking injury may not be worth it. At the same time, however, the team is clearly still playing hard, and the defense has been playing lights out recently.
Why not put it over the top by adding Judon into the mix again?
Although a decision hasn't been announced about his availability for the final two games, it's looking like we won't see him again until next year. It's disappointing yet understandable, especially given the team's current circumstances. But it would've been fun to see those red sleeves back on the field and maybe get a few more Judon sack celly's to end a roller coaster season.