Julian Edelman finished Sunday's game against the Bengals with a season-low two catches for nine yards and played just 61 percent of the snaps, by far his fewest of the season except for when he left the Jets game with a chest injury.
The veteran was a game-time decision with shoulder and knee injuries and watching him throughout the contest, it was clear he was battling through quite a bit of pain.
According to NFL Media's Mike Giardi, Edelman “did some damage to the tendon in his left knee” during last week’s loss to the Chiefs and needed treatment three times a day just to be able to give it a go against the Bengals.
Dr. Jessica Flynn, who writes for The Boston Sports Journal, speculated it is either tendonitis in the patellar tendon, or an acute partial tear of the tendon.
“If the tendon is weakened by tendonitis or partial tearing, there is a risk of worsening of the tear or complete rupture of the tendon,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, we are unable to predict when or if that will happen, but it is often preceded by symptoms of tendonitis. A fully torn patellar tendon requires surgery, has a prolonged recovery, and a return to the previous level of play in the NFL is very very difficult. On average, a full patellar tendon tear is much more difficult to recover from than an ACL tear.”
There's no question Edelman is one of the toughest players in the NFL and will do whatever it takes to not miss games, but in this case it may have worked against him and the team. With a short week coming up this week for a game against a tough opponent in the Bills, it may have been better for him to rest Sunday and give himself a better chance of being more healthy for the game this week.
Edelman could use a first-round bye more than anyone and if the division is clinched this weekend, it's worth wondering if he will also sit in Week 17 to get as much down time as possible before the playoffs.