Since Week 12, the New England Patriots have been without right tackle Sebastian Vollmer due to a nagging back injury. While rookies Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon have filled in nicely for Vollmer at the right tackle slot, the team is hopeful he will be healthy enough to play during the playoffs.
This season the Pats have been forced to put 12 players on injured reserve, but as Bill Belichick reminds us, there's a reason why Vollmer isn't among them.
"If a player isn't placed on injured reserve, then there's an expectation that they'll have a chance to be able to play," said Belichick. "Any player that's not on injured reserve, you think there's a possibility that those players can play. If they were out and couldn't play, then they would be on injured reserve." (via CSN New England)
This season, the Patriots have had bad luck when it comes to the health of their offensive line. While they were able to get left tackle Matt Light back last week against the Bills, they were without Vollmer as well as left guard Logan Mankins, who sustained a sprained MCL. On top of all this, the Pats have been without their starting center Dan Koppen for nearly the entire season after he sustained a severe ankle injury in Week 1 and was placed on IR.
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