The New England Patriots’ defense took another big hit Monday, as linebacker Brandon Spikes was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury.
Spikes played in all 16 games for the Patriots this season, a career first for the fourth-year Florida product. His 86 total tackles ranked third on the team behind Dont’a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich. He also recorded one interception and one fumble recovery.
Spikes first injured his knee during a Monday night loss to the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 18 and aggravated it during the Patriots’ regular-season finale, a Dec. 29 win over the Buffalo Bills. He joins Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Tommy Kelly on the lengthy list of Patriots defenders to hit IR this season.
Linebackers Dane Fletcher and Jamie Collins are expected to play larger roles in Spikes’ absence when the Patriots host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts Saturday in an AFC divisional-round playoff game. Indianapolis fell into a 28-point deficit against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend before rallying for five second-half touchdowns in a 45-44 win.