Considering the news filtering out of Foxboro this week, New England Patriots fans had been expecting their team to be without starting center Bryan Stork for the 2015 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The latest update on Stork's situation though is far worse than any of the earlier reports indicated.
Stork has now been placed on the Patriots Injured Reserve/Designated to Return list, a move that rules out the second-year star until at least Week Nine of the campaign.
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Stork has been dealing with a concussion all preseason and, despite what people were predicting, he hadn't taken part in any practice sessions during game week.
Having suffered three concussions in three years, the fact that the young player has taken so long to recover from the latest blow to the head must have alarm bells ringing amongst the Patriots' medical staff.
While Bryan Stork's long-term well being is of course of paramount concern, his loss for over half the regular season is also a big blow for the reigning Super Bowl champions on the field.
Having won the starting job just a few weeks into his rookie season, Stork was an integral part of the offensive line that protected Tom Brady so well for the remainder of 2014. Indeed, only four teams gave up fewer sacks than the Pats last season.
Seven-year veteran Ryan Wendell is most likely to step in for tonight's game versus the Steelers although he too has been dealing with injury issues having appeared in just one preseason contest.
Patriots fans: What is the biggest weakness in your team right now? Have your say in the comments below...
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