Analysis: Initial impressions of Julian Edelman’s knee injury

(Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)

In the first quarter of Friday’s preseason game against the Lions, Julian Edelman, Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots were in a hurry-up offense. For a few minutes, New England fans got a glimpse of NFL real-season football. And then, Edelman danced past three defenders, and one plant of his right leg changed everything.

Here, Dion Lewis is seen tearing his left ACL — it’s an eerily similar knee position.

As Edelman plants his right foot, you can see it buckle into what we call a “valgus” position, where the right knee bends inward. The fact that this is a non-contact buckling injury in this position makes me very concerned that the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was stressed and possibly injured.

After Edelman feels his knee buckle, he visibly hops to avoid putting that knee back down on the ground. Often athletes can feel a palpable “pop” when the ligament tears. I don’t expect to see Edelman back on the field tonight. There is a chance that he simply has a mild sprain of the ACL and MCL.

Best case: Edelman’s hamstrings and core stabilized his knee enough to spare his ACL from tearing. In that case, I would still expect that it was sprained.

Worst case: Brady’s favorite target has a full-thickness ACL tear and will be sidelined for 8-12 months as he recovers from ACL reconstructive surgery.

UPDATE: Patriots fear that Edelman has a torn ACL per Adam Schefter of ESPN

Dr. Jessica Flynn is a sports medicine physician at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, MA. She writes about injuries in professional sports on her blog, You can follow her on Twitter @jessdeede.