New England special teams suffers bad break

New England's most recent injury could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Updated: December 9, 2003, 11:37 AM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
The New England Patriots have gone through more Ace bandages and liniment than perhaps any other team this season, yet they've managed to win 11 games and are currently in the driver's seat for home-field advantage in the AFC. So it's odd to think that the team's most recent injury could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Adam Vinatieri
Adam Vinatieri may need to adjust to a new long snapper.
According to the Boston Globe the team learned Monday that long snapper Lonie Paxton may miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury. Now Paxton is hardly the straw that stirs the Patriots drink, but his importance shouldn't be minimized.

Ask the New York Giants how easy it is to break in a new long snapper at this point in the season, and you have some idea of how such a loss could affect New England's playoff hopes. All is not lost, though, as Paxton may still try to play with a torn ACL by wearing a brace. He could do that depending on the extent of the damage, but it would limit his movement.