Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Patriots could be without a key piece of their defense as they open the season. 

By SI Wire
August 23, 2016

Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and given a two- to four-week recovery time, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports.

MCL sprains can take as long as four to six weeks to heal, but Sheard’s is not considered “overly serious,” Howe reports. With the Patriots’ season opener about four weeks away, there is a chance Sheard could be sidelined in Week 1. 

The Patriots’ depth chart lists Sheard as the starter at right defensive end, opposite Rob Ninkovich, who has been out with a triceps injury. The Patriots also traded away defensive end Chandler Jones in the off-season. 

The other defensive ends on the New England roster are Chris Long, Trey Flowers and Geneo Grissom. 

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