Brett LoGiurato
Monday September 17th, 2012

The Patriots' Aaron Hernandez could be out up to six weeks with an ankle injury suffered Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In what could be a big blow to the New England Patriots' offense, tight end Aaron Hernandez could be out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported Sunday night.

Hernandez hurt his ankle while blocking on a screen pass during the Patriots' second offensive series of their 20-18 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. ESPN's Mike Reiss and Field Yates reported that Hernandez left Gillette Stadium after the loss on crutches and wearing a walking boot.

There were fears that Hernandez might have broken his ankle, but multiple reports indicated that was not the case.

The Patriots' offense struggled mightily on Sunday without Hernandez, who has a starring role in the Patriots' two-tight end offensive system along with Rob Gronkowski. Hernandez is a hybrid tight end who plays multiple roles in the offense.

"When he went down it took away a lot of things they are able to do," Cardinals safety James Sanders told ESPN. "It's unfortunate for them, but it helped us out as a unit. I just pray that he's healthy." Without Hernandez, the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady suffered their first defeat in a home opener in 10 seasons.

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