Report: James Develin Could Miss 6 To 8 Weeks; Ex-NFL Doctor Says Longer

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The New England Patriots are hopeful James Develin can return to the field in 2015, but a former NFL team doctor is a bit less optimistic.

The Patriots fullback is scheduled to have surgery on a broken right tibia he suffered in Friday night’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers and is expected to miss six to eight weeks, a team source told ESPN’s Mike Reiss early Saturday morning.

Shortly after Reiss broke that news, though, former San Diego Chargers team doctor David Chao offered a more pessimistic timetable.

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Chao has plenty of expertise in the field, having spent 17 years as San Diego’s lead doctor before he stepped down in 2013 amid allegations of negligence and malpractice.

Develin suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of New England’s 17-16 win when his right leg got stuck in the turf while he was tackled. The 27-year-old has been a reliable presence in the Patriots’ running game and is the only true fullback on the team’s roster.

Head coach Bill Belichick has yet to offer an update on Develin’s injury.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BostonGlobe

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