The Patriots had a pretty successful day against the Dolphins on Sunday, shutting out the visitors from Florida 28-0 and getting tight end Rob Gronkowski some game action before the playoffs.
The only black mark on the day was a hip injury suffered by defensive end Rob Ninkovich in the second quarter. Ninkovich needed the help of trainers to leave the field and did not return to the game in the second half. In the hours after the game, there was some fear that the injury could impact his availability for the playoffs, but it seems like the Patriots have dodged that bullet.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports that tests show that Ninkovich avoided significant damage to his hip and there’s “a good chance” that he will be in the lineup when the Patriots return to the field a week from Sunday. Per Howe, Ninkovich strained muscles in his hip and should be able to practice with the team next week although he hasn’t been ruled out for this week.
Ninkovich led the Patriots with eight sacks this season and he also forced five fumbles in his first season as a full time defensive end. Losing that production would not be a good thing for the New England defense, which makes this report a reassuring one for the AFC’s second seed.