The New England Patriots' 2013 Super Bowl dreams were ruined by injuries, and while today's news doesn't dash their hopes of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy this season, the path won't get any easier.
Running back Stevan Ridley suffered a torn ACL and MCL against the Buffalo Bills, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston. The Patriots running back is most likely done for the season.
Ridley's knee was injured on a tackle by Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore in the third quarter, with his knee bending back and to the side awkwardly.
This is obviously horrible news for Ridley, who was having a great season (94 carries, 340 yards, two touchdowns, no fumbles). Ridley's contract expires after this year, and he could find it hard to get a big payday in light of the recent news.
The Patriots, however, will have to find a way to move on. Shane Vereen may see an uptick in his carries, as will running back Brandon Bolden, who had a season-high six against the Bills. Vereen has yet to have more than 10 carries in a game this season, but that is likely to change.
We could also see some new names creep up in the box scores. Rookie fourth-round pick James White has been inactive for all but one of the Patriots' first six games of the season, and Jonas Gray is the only running back on the Patriots' practice squad.
Since 2009, the only veteran free agent running backs to sign with the Patriots are Fred Taylor and Danny Woodhead. The rest of New England's backs have been acquired via the draft, a trade, or as an undrafted free agent. That statistic does not bode well for Ridley's chances of re-signing with the Patriots.