Source: Ron Brace to be placed on IR

Barring an unexpected change, second-year New England Patriots defensive lineman Ron Brace will be placed on season-ending injured reserve Monday to create a roster spot as linebacker Brandon Spikes returns from a four-game suspension, a league source told ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss.

Brace was listed with an elbow injury on the team's injury report this week. The Boston Herald first reported the move.

The expected loss of Brace affects the Patriots' 3-4 alignment, as he has been a top option at left end. Brace, who has played in 13 games and collected 23 tackles this season, usually comes off the field in substitution packages.

The loss of Brace turns the spotlight to the health of Mike Wright, who has been out since Nov. 21 with a concussion. Wright would likely be a top starting option in the 3-4 alongside Vince Wilfork and Gerard Warren.

Information from ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss was used in this report.