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Tre' Jackson, RG on Patriots' thin O-line, won't need knee surgery

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rookie New England Patriots starting right guard Tre' Jackson, who injured his left knee in the fourth quarter of Thursday's win over the Miami Dolphins, did not sustain any ACL or MCL tears and will not require surgery, sources said.

Based on initial tests, the issue for Jackson, who was wearing knee braces in the game, is with the meniscus. How soon he returns will be contingent on how he responds to treatment.

Jackson has a history with knee issues, including a torn ACL suffered as a junior in high school. He didn't miss games at Florida State due to the knee injuries, playing in 49 games (42 starts), but it was considered something that required to be managed.

Because of this, some NFL teams lowered their draft grade on him this year.

The Patriots selected Jackson in the fourth round, feeling it was the right spot to take a high-upside player who they knew might require some health-based management.

The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Jackson has played in all seven games this season, with four starts.

The 7-0 Patriots have had their depth along the offensive tested due to injuries, with starting left tackle Nate Solder on season-ending injured reserve (biceps) and his replacement, Marcus Cannon, injuring his toe on the first drive against the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 18 and having not played since. In addition, veteran center/guard Ryan Wendell was inactive for the first five games of the season due to an undisclosed illness and is still rounding into form, while rookie guard Shaq Mason (fourth round, Georgia Tech) has missed the past two games with a right knee injury.

Over the past two games, the Patriots have dressed just six offensive linemen, one fewer than the norm.

Bryan Stork, the team's 2014 starting center, opened the year on the injured reserve/designated to return list and is eligible to return next week.