- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHARLOTTE -- New England Patriots fullback James Develin broke his right tibia on the fourth-quarter play that led to him being carted off the field in Friday night's 17-16 win over the Carolina Panthers, according to a team source.
Develin will have surgery in Charlotte for what is described as a clean break, according to the source. The hope is for a recovery time of six to eight weeks.
The Boston Globe first reported the injury was a broken leg.
Develin caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with 8:18 remaining, and his right leg appeared to get stuck in the turf. He remained on the ground for an extended period of time as several teammates came over to him, as well as coach Bill Belichick from the sideline, which reflected the seriousness of the situation. Develin required help getting on the cart, and later had an air cast placed over his leg.
"Dev's one of the hardest working guys in the locker room, a real team guy," Garoppolo said. "That's tough to see him go down like that, especially when things are going well. We had a little momentum with us, and it was unfortunate but all the prayers out to him for sure."
"Hate to see that," Belichick said after the game.
Earlier this month, Belichick referred to Develin as one of the team's most dependable players on a day-in and day-out basis. The Brown University alum hadn't missed a game over the last two seasons after emerging from the practice squad.