Hernandez leaves with crutches, boot

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez left Gillette Stadium on Sunday with crutches and a walking boot on his injured right ankle. He declined comment when approached by a reporter.

Hernandez was injured on the Patriots' third offensive play in the team's 20-18 home-opening loss to the Cardinals. He was blocking on a quick pass to receiver Julian Edelman and was landed on.

Without Hernandez, the Patriots went away from their base offense with multiple tight ends, relying more on a three-receiver package.

"When he went down it took away a lot of things they are able to do," said Cardinals safety James Sanders, who played for the Patriots from 2005-2010. "It's unfortunate for them, but it helped us out as a unit. I just pray that he's healthy."

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was unaware of Hernandez's status. Multiple media reports said that Hernandez did not suffer a break. The severity of a possible sprain figures to be revealed by further tests.

"Hopefully he's fine," Gronkowski said. "He's a great player and we need him."