Patriots

Patriots rookie Tyquan Thornton reportedly suffered a fractured clavicle

The exact timetable for his return is unclear, but he could reportedly miss eight weeks.

Tyquan Thornton reportedly won't be on the field for a bit. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The Patriots could be without one of their promising players for some time.

Rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton suffered a fractured clavicle in Friday’s preseason win over the Panthers, NFL Network’s Mike Giardi reported Sunday. Thornton is expected to miss “around eight weeks,” but the source told Giardi that everyone heals from that injury “at their own rate.” Thornton departed Friday’s game early with what was originally called a shoulder injury.

Sports medicine doctor Jessica Flynn wrote that if Thornton’s collarbone injury is a clavicle fracture, he could need surgery. If surgery is needed, the average time missed for NFL players is between six-to-eight weeks, Flynn added.

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Thornton was a standout for much of the first three weeks of training camp practices and in the first two preseason games. The rookie fared well in 1-on-1 drills against veteran Patriots corners while typically making plays with the second-team offense in team drills during practice.

Thornton had a touchdown reception and another catch for seven yards in the few drives he played in the Patriots’ preseason opener against the Giants last week. He was also targeted a couple more times, with Brian Hoyer underthrowing him in one instance.

Thornton had a catch for 13 yards in Friday’s win over the Panthers.

The injury to Thornton is the second injury the Patriots have suffered at receiver in the past week. Kristian Wilkerson was reportedly concussed following a hit from Panthers safety Kenny Robinson during Wednesday’s joint practice.

In addition to Wilkerson, Patriots starting left tackle Trent Brown and right tackle Isaiah Wynn, along with starting tight end Hunter Henry and starting receiver Kendrick Bourne, all missed Friday’s game. Wynn and Henry both missed practice time this past week with injuries while the reason for Bourne’s absence is unclear. Brown reportedly got the night off.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick provided a good prognosis though for the players that didn’t play in Friday’s game.

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“I expect probably all of our players to be available this week with maybe the exception of Wilkerson,” Belichick said. “We’ll see what happens, unless somebody walks in here with something today, but I think we should be pretty close with everybody. Hopefully. We’ll see how it goes.”

If Thornton is out for a bit, he could be placed on the physically unable to perform list, which would keep him out for at least four weeks. If that’s the case, a roster spot could open for one of Tre Nixon or Lil’Jordan Humphrey, who have each performed well in the preseason.

The Patriots conclude their preseason next week against the Raiders. They’ll travel to Las Vegas on Sunday and hold joint practices with Josh McDaniels’s squad on Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of Friday’s preseason game. The roster will be cut down to 53 on the following Tuesday, Aug. 30.

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