Rotator cuff also challenges Welker

Patriots receiver Wes Welker is not only recovering from torn ligaments in his left knee but also had a torn rotator cuff. Welker's rotator cuff injury started buzzing around the blogosphere Friday and has since been confirmed by ESPNBoston.com.

Welker was already facing the most challenging offseason of his career. A source close to the situation said he is attacking his rehabilitation as would be expected, with a full head of steam.

Given what Welker has shown on the field, he shouldn't be counted out.

Patriots followers recall that one of the defining moments of Welker's 2009 season came against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 14. The game was tied at 7 midway through the third quarter and Gillette Stadium was quiet with the Patriots pinned deep in their territory at the 6-yard line. Welker caught a 6-yard pass and was blasted to the turf by defensive back Charles Godfrey.

It was a crushing hit that had Welker remaining on the ground for a brief moment before he popped up and urged the fans to turn up the volume. Gillette Stadium erupted, Welker caught a 13-yard pass on the next play, and the Patriots went on to score a touchdown while never looking back.

After the game, rookie Julian Edelman said that Welker was just like "Rocky" as an inspiration to his teammates. The comparison was fitting.

Welker's toughness is unquestioned, which should serve him well as he attacks this latest challenge.