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BOSTON (CBS) — In the hours and days following New England’s Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, there was some optimism surrounding injured linebacker Dont’a Hightower.

Hightower left in the second half after having his knee rolled up on, but reportedly suffered only a minor MCL sprain. There was some hope that he would be able to suit up in Week 2 against the Saints, but was ruled out on Friday.

As of Sunday morning, there is no longer much optimism on the Hightower front. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Hightower visited Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his knee:

From ESPN’s Mike Reiss:

When I saw Hightower a few days ago, he didn’t confirm plans to visit Andrews, but he also didn’t deny it, only saying with a smile, “I’m OK.” That Hightower was believed to be seeking more clarity on the injury days after the opener was notable to me based on the initial optimism. This is the same knee that led to him beginning training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

This certainly isn’t great news, as a visit to Dr. Andrews always raises a red flag (and is usually followed by bad news). Add in Hightower’s injury history, especially with his knee, and the New England linebacker could be in for a lengthy absence.

Hightower signed a four-year, $43.5 million deal with the Patriots over the offseason. He played mostly on the edge in Week 1 against Kansas City, recording a pair of combined tackles.

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