Patriots' Dane Fletcher Tears ACL In Saints Game

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Matt Moore #8 of the Miami Dolphins feels the pressure of Dane Fletcher #52 of the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher suffered a torn ACL early in Thursday's game against the Saints.

The nightmare situation for New England Patriots LB Dane Fletcher has come true. In the first quarter of the first preseason game of the year, Fletcher tore his ACL, according to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Others have confirmed the injury which likely means Fletcher is done for the year.

Fletcher was running down the field covering a punt in the first quarter of Thursday's game against the New Orleans Saints when the injury happened. He was then helped off the field by the Patriots training staff.

Any kind of injuries are every team's biggest concern in preseason, let alone a season-ending injury. This means that the Patriots will rely more on their other linebackers. Bobby Carpenter can expect to see some more time, as could Dont'a Hightower.

Fletcher played in 10 games for the Pats last year and finished with 32 tackles.

For more on the Patriots, visit Pats Pulpit and SB Nation Boston.

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