Sources: Jimmy Garoppolo has sprained right AC joint

ByMike Reiss ESPN logo
Monday, September 19, 2016

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was knocked out of Sunday's home opener against the Miami Dolphins with 4 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the second quarter after taking a big hit from Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso and landing hard on his right throwing shoulder.

The Patriots did not provide an update on Garoppolo's status after their 31-24 win. However, according to ESPN sources and multiple reports, Garoppolo suffered a sprained AC joint and will be assessed day-to-day.

It may be a long shot, but the Patriots have not given up hope that Garoppolo can play Thursday against the Houston Texans, a team source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Comcast SportsNet first reported that Garoppolo had injured his AC joint.

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Monday morning that the team has yet to make a decision on how it will proceed at quarterback.

"I'm not sure exactly what the situation is going to be. I think a lot of that will be determined later today relative to Jimmy's whole situation and what it's going to be," McDaniels said on sports radio WEEI's "Kirk & Callahan Show." "I'm sure if he can't play or back up, then we'll be going through that process today.

"...It's a short week. We're going to have work hard to get somebody ready to go in case that does happen. If that situation does come up, we'll have somebody ready to roll."

After facing the Texans on Thursday, the Patriotsplay the Buffalo Bills in Week 4 beforeTom Brady is eligible to return in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns.

"He came out of the pocket, and I just went and got after him. I think he just landed on his shoulder," Alonso said. "It was just one of those like you've seen happen with [Tony] Romo, [Aaron] Rodgers."

Rookie Jacoby Brissett, the third-round pick from NC State (91st overall), replaced Garoppolo. Players were already rallying around Brissett in the locker room after the game in preparation for Thursday's game against the Texans.

"He's handled himself well. He comes in, he works hard, he's a good kid," wide receiver Julian Edelmansaid. "I'm excited to see this week and how we prepare together, and get ready for the Houston Texans."

Added coach Bill Belichick: "He's been working for this for a long time, all the way back into the spring, all the way through training camp. He's gotten a lot of reps."

Entering in place of Garoppolo on Sunday, Brissett finished 6-of-9 for 92 yards with two sacks, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions.

"He did a good job -- pressure situation, played two and a half quarters and did a good job for us," Belichick said.

Garoppolo initially attempted to play through the injury before kneeling on one knee after absorbing the hit. The crowd chanted: "Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy!" as he appeared to be in considerable pain. He walked slowly to the locker room under his own power.

When reporters arrived in the locker room after the game, Garoppolo's chair was folded up at his locker. He had already departed.

"I know Jimmy has worked so hard to get himself ready to go and put himself in great position to seize his moment, so to speak, and it's tough to see that," said special-teams captain Matthew Slater. "So you really feel for the guy."

Garoppolo had been on fire, leading the Patriots to touchdowns on their first three possessions as they took a 21-0 lead. He was 18-of-27 for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns at the time of the injury.

The team's emergency quarterback likely would have been Edelman, who was a quarterback at Kent State before switching to receiver when the Patriots drafted him in the seventh round in 2009.

The Patriots' depth at quarterback was a notable topic entering the season, with four-time Super Bowl champion Brady serving a four-game suspension to open the season as part of the NFL's Deflategate penalties. The Patriots didn't bring a fourth quarterback to training camp and didn't sign a quarterback to their practice squad.

Asked about the team's plans at quarterback last week, Belichick said, "We'll do whatever we think is best for the team."

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