Tests concluded the defensive end has avoided a serious injury, and there's a good chance he can play when the Patriots open the postseason Jan. 13, according to a source. He suffered some strained muscles in his hip, which is a positive development after there was some legitimate, initial fear the injury could cost him the postseason.
The Patriots return to practice Wednesday, but next week might be a more realistic goal for Ninkovich to get back on the field.
This didn't look great when it happened as Ninkovich required significant help to get off the field (see picture above). Still, that's not always a tell tale sign of an injury's significance. We've seen countless times players retain what looks like a significant injury, but then see them return and be able to play through it, a la Paul Pierce in Game 1 of the 2008 Finals (Shut up, it was so a real injury!...Yeah, I know they played the Rocky theme.. He needed that wheel chair!... ok, screw you!).
Rob Ninkovich hasn't missed a game since 2009 and this year's he's having the best season of his career. He has eight sacks, five forced fumbles (tied for most in franchise history), four fumble recoveries and 32 tackles. He also has one pass defensed. Not to mention how timely a lot of those forced fumbles have been. He's basically the reason the Patriots have two of their wins.
Good news, hope it's true.