Oct 7, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Tracy Porter (22) tackles New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch (84) after a reception during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Roster flexibility key to Stallworth landing on IR

Not wanting to take the chance that Donte’ Stallworth’s ankle injury wouldn’t rapidly respond to treatment, the New England Patriots placed the newly signed wide receiver on the season ending Injured Reserved list on Tuesday.

In a corresponding move, several credible media sources are reporting that the team has resigned receiver Deion Branch.

Stallworth was said to have injured the ankle on his 63 yard run and catch in the third quarter of Monday night’s brutal beatdown of the Houston Texans.  He remained on the sidelines but was not available for the final 25 minutes of the game.  He also was seen after the game, walking without any noticeable limp and seemed to be in good spirits – so the move to the IR comes as a bit of a surprise.

Several factors could have contributed to the roster move, such as a diagnosis of a high ankle sprain which, as we know from injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, can be tricky to treat and not everyone responds to treatment quickly, so the Patriots decided to play it safe and designate Stallworth to the IR, giving them room on the roster to bring in Branch rather than having Stallworth taking up a roster spot with no potential for production.

The move also shows the Patriots want to keep Stallworth around knowing that, after last night’s performance basically right off the street, there would be some interest in him on the waiver wire if they simply released him.

Tags: Deion Branch New England Patriots

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