New England Patriots

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 21, 2018: Sony Michel of the New England Patriots carries the football in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 21, 2018: Sony Michel of the New England Patriots carries the football in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury on the first play of the second quarter in New England’s 38-31 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Michel carried the ball for no gain, then fumbled as he got his leg twisted on a tackle by the Bears’ Bilal Nichols. He left the field with help from trainers in significant pain, then eventually got carted to the locker room. After initially ruling him questionable to return with the knee injury, the Patriots later ruled Michel out for the rest of the game.

The rookie rushed four times for 22 yards prior to the injury, continuing to show considerable burst out of the Patriots backfield. Michel had averaged 4.72 yards per cary and 109 total yards in his previous three games.

No further reports have emerged about Michel’s knee injury. But of course, the obvious fear is a torn ACL. Michel injured the same knee that’s already been through an ACL tear, and had slowed him in the offseason and early in the regular season.

Other injuries at running back forced Michel into action, perhaps quicker than the Patriots desired. Now, they could be without the promising rookie for the rest of the season. Their running back depth chart would be down to James White, Kenjon Barner, and practice squad back Kenneth Farrow. If Michel is indeed done, you can be certain the Patriots will add a running back in the coming days.

There’s always the chance that the Patriots dip into free agency for a back they’ve recently brought in for a workout. They’ve seen at least five running backs since early September (via Mike Reiss): Brandon Radcliff, Andre Ellington, Charcandrick West, Matthew Dayes, and Aaron Ripkowski. Dayes, however, is currently signed to the San Francisco 49ers practice squad.

The Patriots could also make a trade ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. They recently restructured Stephon Gilmore’s contract to clear up cap space for potential moves. But either way it’s a really unfortunate development for Michel, just as he was steadily improving. Potentially a big setback for the Patriots’ running back group, which is officially snakebitten by injuries.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.