New England Patriots left tackle Nate Solder sustained a concussion in last week’s game against the Cleveland Browns, but the concussion seemed minor as Solder returned to practice on Thursday. Still, he wasn’t cleared, which left some doubt regarding his status for this week’s rivalry game against the Miami Dolphins. Concussed players must pass through all the mandatory tests, so a player could even practice everyday in a week but get ruled out by never passing the final test.
The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports that Solder was able to pass all of his concussion tests, so he’s been cleared to play against the Dolphins. Solder has made the trip to Miami, and he is fully expected to play. I don’t think anyone thought that he would miss any time, but there are always doubts with concussions until somebody is cleared. Barring a setback, Solder will play today.
One of the best left tackles in the game, Solder’s importance has only increased due to Sebastian Vollmer’s season-ending ACL tear that occurred the first time the Patriots and Dolphins played this season. If Solder wasn’t able to make the trip, then the Patriots would have been forced to start Marcus Cannon and Will Svitek at tackle. The Pats have much more depth at tackle this year than they did last year, but it would have still been an unideal situation for a team that desperately needs to protect Tom Brady with superstar TE Rob Gronkowski out for the year.