Wednesday's news that the New England Patriots would be without their star linebacker, Dont'a Hightower, this week and potentially a bit longer was bad, but, unfortunately for the team, the news has gotten much worse.

According to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Hightower has a torn pectoral muscle, which will cost him, and the team, the rest of the season.


  The Pats finally seemed to get themselves back on track defensively, after a very rough first six weeks of the season. Taking Hightower away from that unit for good will likely hinder that development and put them back in a learning phase.  Hightower has been an absolute game changer, when on the field, though he has been plagued by injuries and has struggled to stay on the field throughout his career.  Hightower's absence will force pressure on guys like Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and David Harris to take on much more substantial roles and might even force the team to make a deal for a backer or rusher prior to the trade deadline.