On Wednesday, the “Boston Herald” reported that anonymous sources had told them that New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower is out for Sunday's game and possibly longer. Today, Ben Volin of the “Boston Globe” reported that his season was over. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns, already reeling from losing their best player in Joe Thomas, announced that first-round pick Myles Garrett has entered into the concussion protocol.

Patriots to be without Hightower for season

The Patriots will be without their starter and defensive captain for the rest of the season due to a torn pectoral muscle.

He suffered the injury late in the third quarter of the team's win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Hightower had been dealing with injuries much of the season, as he suffered a knee injury in the third quarter of the team's opening game against the Kansas City Chiefs. He then missed the next two games, played on a snap count in week four, and had been fully healthy since then.

Hightower was the team's first-round pick in 2012, made his first Pro Bowl last season, and was named a Second-Team All-Pro for the first time. The 27-year-old is in his third year in the league, having played in 72 games and starting 69 of them. According to Pro Football Reference, he has 418 total tackles, 19 sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered, and a defensive touchdown in his career.

Hightower plays a vital role as the defensive's communicator in the middle of the field. He is also a versatile player who can stop the run and rush the passer. The Patriots will now have to rely more on David Harris, Marquis Flowers, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Trevor Reilly.

Garrett in protocol, likely out for Sunday's game

On Wednesday, the Cleveland Browns announced that defensive lineman Myles Garrett had arrived at the team's facility the previous morning with concussion-like symptoms.

Due to this development, the team has placed the rookie first-round pick out of Texas A&M in the concussion protocol.

Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot reported that Garrett will likely be ruled out for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Hue Jackson also said that he was not sure if the defensive end would even travel with the team to London for the game, saying that “I have not ruled that out.”

Garrett has been dealing with injuries this season, as he suffered a high ankle sprain in practice that caused him to miss the first four games of the season. In three games this season, Garrett has recorded 11 total tackles and a team-high four sacks.