BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots received some good news on Monday, as defensive end Rob Ninkovich’s hip injury does not appear to be as serious as originally feared.

The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reported on Monday that Ninkovich only suffered strained muscles in his hip on Sunday, and there is a good chance he could play when the Patriots take the field for their January 13 playoff game at Gillette.

CSNNE’s Tom E. Curran also reported there is “cautious optimism” around the Patriots that Ninkovich could suit up in two weeks after he was evaluated on Monday, but it all depends on how he responds to treatment leading up to the game.

Ninkovich had to be helped off the field in Sunday’s 28-0 win over the Dolphins in the second quarter. He was immediately taken to the Patriots locker room, and was not seen after the game.

Losing Ninkovich would have been a huge blow to the Patriots defense, as the defensive end has played an important role in their success this season. He led the team with eight sacks, and was tied for the team lead with five forced fumbles in the regular season.

Ninkovich has extra time to heal thanks to the Patriots earning a first-round bye with Sunday’s victory.


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