BOSTON (CBS) - Heading into the postseason, fans and pundits agreed the most vulnerable area on the Patriots was their offensive line, particularly because of their lack of real depth.
On Saturday, rookie center Bryan Stork went down with a knee injury in the first half and did not return to the game. Ryan Wendell slid over to center, and Josh Kline entered the game at right guard.
Stork's importance to the offensive line cannot be overstated. People (correctly) point to the full health of Rob Gronkowski as a major turning point in the season, but Bryan Stork returning to the lineup in the early going after battling injury in training camp helped solidify the offensive line, and was another major reason New England rattled off seven straight wins from October into November.
There's been no official update from the Patriots on Stork.
On Monday morning, 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich were joined by former NFL veteran Mike Flynn for the entire second hour of the show to talk about New England's big win over Baltimore, including the Stork injury.
"I don't think the Stork injury hurts the Patriots next week. I think the Colts are okay, but they're not an overly-physical type of team. The unit you had last week I think you can get through this week," said Flynn, the former lineman.
"If it's Seattle [in the Super Bowl], if you don't have Stork there [at center] you're going to have some issues, because that's a physical defense."
Listen below for Flynn's full appearance:
"You inserted Stork into the lineup and he's played well for a rookie. Luckily he has two [former] centers next to him [Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell] and probably the smartest quarterback in the league behind him, so that helps him with the mental part of the game, but physically he's held his own.
"Not being in there for a couple weeks could be huge. I don't know the extent of the injury, but it looks like a knee. Sprained knees can be tricky; sometimes they can take two weeks, three weeks or even four weeks depending on what degree of a sprain it is. I don't think it bothers you this week [against Indy], but a couple weeks from now? Yeah, it's going to hurt you."
Former Chargers team doctor David Chao, the go-to guy on the internet for NFL injuries (great follow on Twitter, I might add), seems to think Stork could play in the Super Bowl should the Patriots make it:
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