The New England Patriots special teams suffered a tough break on Wednesday: kicker Stephen Gostkowski has been placed on the injured reserve list with a thigh injury, the team announced, ending his 2010 season.
Gostkowski hurt himself Sunday while warming up before the game with the Cleveland Browns, complaining of tightness. He tried to tough it out, kicking an extra point and a low, bouncing kickoff, but it never improved, forcing him out of the game in the second quarter. Wes Welker took over the kicking duties after that.
The Patriots began preparing for this move on Tuesday when they signed free agent kicker Shayne Graham. New England plays at Pittsburgh Sunday night.
In eight games this season, Gostkowski hit 10 of 13 field goals attempted, including 2-of-3 from the 40-49 yards range, and converted all 26 extra points.