MIAMI -- Starting Patriots left tackle Nate Solder left Sunday's loss to the Dolphins early in the fourth quarter with a head injury, which naturally raises concerns after he was limited all last week with a concussion.
On Solder's final play, he was blocking end Olivier Vernon on an outside rush, and as Vernon bended around the edge, Solder got low and pushed him to the ground. In the process, Solder fell to the ground and Dolphins end Cameron Wake, coming from the other side, appeared to make contact with his helmet as he fell.
Solder took himself off the field and was seen on the CBS broadcast speaking with team doctor Thomas Gill and members of the team's athletic training staff.
"It looked like he got either kicked or kneed or something at the end of the play," coach Bill Belichick said Monday in his day-after-game conference call. "We’ll take a look at everybody today, see where everybody’s at the day after the game and go from there."
Belichick didn't want to specify if Solder flew home with the team, saying, "I don’t think I really want to make any comment about what anybody did or didn’t do. That gets into another area."
In Solder's absence, the Patriots moved left guard Logan Mankins to tackle and inserted rookie Josh Kline at left guard. Another option would have been to insert eight-year veteran Will Svitek at left tackle.
"We’d practiced some alternative combinations this week because of the availability of all three tackles – Marcus [Cannon], Will and Nate – [was uncertain] during the practice week," Belichick explained. "When that happened, we felt like that was the best move for us at that point.
"I think we had situations – maybe not quite as traumatic as that one, but during the course of the game -- where guys had to step in and fill in for somebody and things like that. I thought, as I said yesterday, the team competed hard. I thought they gave a great effort right to the end. I don’t think there was any lack of effort or lack of competitiveness.
"We just didn’t do enough things well enough throughout the course of the game – at the beginning of the game, at the middle of the game, at the end of the game and collectively as a total team – players, coaches, offense, defense, special teams, everybody – we just all have to do a better job of it."