Report: Fullback James Develin suffers broken right tibia, out 6-8 weeks

It took a month of training camp and three games of preseason football, but the Patriots have finally suffered their first significant injury of the year.

First reported by the Boston Globe, fullback James Develin suffered a broken right leg in the fourth quarter of last night's game when he was tackled by Panthers linebacker David Mayo. After catching a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo, Develin was wrapped up by Mayo and thrown to the ground, but his foot got stuck in the turf and twisted.

Multiple players and team personnel, including head coach Bill Belichick, came out to check on Develin while he remained on the ground before he needed the cart to wheel him off the field. While the Globe reports that the injury is possibly season-ending, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that the broken tibia [he originally called it a 'fibia,' which doesn't exist] carries a 6-8 week recovery period.

Howe also reported that Develin avoided any kind of ligament damage, which would've made the injury much worse and likely would've ended his season.

Playing a role that he's perfected, Develin is one of the best pure, bruising fullbacks in football. He can clear a paths for running backs to all areas of the line and has the hands, agility and speed to even catch passes out of the backfield in the flats. Develin has appeared in all 32 games the past two seasons, while racking up 105 yards on 10 catches and a touchdown.

The Patriots don't have another fullback built like Develin to step into the void, so it remains to be seen how they handle the situation moving forward.

Photo credit: Mass Live