FOXBORO, Mass. — After Christian Gonzalez suffered the shoulder injury that likely will end his rookie season, he received some words of wisdom from a fellow Patriots draft pick.

Defensive end Keion White, selected 29 spots after Gonzalez back in April, dealt with a serious ankle injury in college that sidelined him for the entire 2021 season. He told Gonzalez that staying engaged and focused on the future is important during the lengthy rehab process that awaits the impressive first-year cornerback.

“He was getting off to a good start,” White said Wednesday. “We talk here and there about things like that. I went through a surgery myself, so I was just trying to tell him you’ve just got to try to stay in it and take pride in the comeback.

“Just think about working towards it — working towards that goal of coming back. That kind of keeps your mental good, because you see yourself working towards something versus just sitting out on the sideline.”

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Gonzalez, the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month for September, reportedly is expected to miss the rest of the season. He was one of two key Patriots defenders to go down during Sunday’s blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

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Pro Bowl edge rusher Matthew Judon also is looking at a long layoff after he tore a tendon in his biceps on a fourth-quarter tackle attempt. Judon underwent surgery Wednesday and reportedly will miss at least two months, though he still hopes to return before season’s end.

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Linebackers coach Jerod Mayo said White, New England’s second-round draft pick, will see his playing time increase in Judon’s absence.

“We need him to show up,” Mayo said Tuesday.

White said it’ll be a group effort to replace the Patriots’ best player. He also said he won’t be the one replicating Judon’s electric on-field energy.

“I feel like we’re all stepping up,” the stone-faced Georgia Tech product said. “Ju is a very important part of this defense. You can’t really replace him with one guy, so we all have to contribute and fill his role.”

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Featured image via Zack Cox/NESN