One of the leaders in the New England Patriots’ locker room — and perhaps the best gunner in the NFL — could be sidelined for a while.

Patriots wide receiver/special teams ace Matthew Slater left his team’s 41-16 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday with a hamstring injury. And, with the Patriots in Colorado Springs, Colo., preparing for their Week 11 matchup with the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City, Slater is heading home and likely will miss Sunday’s game, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport offered this grim update on the 32-year-old:

While losing Slater definitely isn’t a season-wrecker, it’s yet another blow to a team that’s already missing its biggest leader on defense (linebacker Dont’a Hightower) and one of its most important leaders on offense (wideout Julian Edelman).

The Patriots might be used to playing without the oft-injured Slater at this point, but he’s nevertheless a difference-maker when on the field. And as we saw Sunday at Sports Authority Field, sometimes special teams can be the most important factor in a game.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images