Brandon LaFell has been placed on the physically unable to perform list, also known as the PUP list, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Patriots placed WR Brandon LaFell on the Reserve/P.U.P. list.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 5, 2015
The Patriots wide receiver is coming off the best season of his career with 74 receptions, 953 yards, and seven touchdowns. He also led the team last year in snaps for a wide receiver. This is a concern for the Patriots because fellow wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola have dealt with their fair share of injuries recently. Edelman suffered a leg injury on August 2, and is still unsure if he will be cleared to play in the Patriots opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, according to NFL.com. While Danny Amendola made it through all 16 games last year, he had an unproductive season with only 27 receptions, 200 yards, and one touchdown.
According to ProFootballTalk, LaFell will be eligible to return in week seven at the earliest. It should be noted that this is not a recent injury. LaFell missed offseason camps and did not play in any of the Patriots preseason games. In an interview that appeared on ESPN in July, LaFell told host Bruce Murray that the injuries actually took place last season.
“Just a few lingering injuries that happened in the late part of the regular season that I just played through throughout the playoffs. Finally got some time off to let my body heal up properly; I’m out of the boot now and I’m just looking forward to starting camp.”
Brandon LaFell is positive about the situation though. He took to Twitter to let Patriots fans know he will be back and stronger than ever.
The good news for Patriots fans is that Tom Brady will not miss any time after winning his ruling against the NFL and the Deflategate scandal. Brady’s favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, also appears to finally be healthy for the first time in a few years. He played in 15 out of 16 games in 2014, and had 82 receptions, 1,124 yards, and 12 touchdowns, which implies he is ready for another monster season.
In Brandon LaFell’s absence, Edelman will remain the number one wide receiver option. Aaron Dobson and Danny Amendola will likely fight for second on the depth chart. At this point in their careers, Dobson has a higher upside than Amendola, but he is also injury prone. In 2014, he only appeared in four games, and was eventually put on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury.
Foot injuries for NFL players can be difficult, but Brandon LaFell has a chance to return week seven from the PUP list and make a real difference in the Patriots offense.
[Image via Harry How/Getty Images]