- Adam Schefter, NFL
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One year ago, during the opening Monday night matchup between the Miami Dolphins and New England, Patriots Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins tore his right anterior cruciate ligament, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Not only did Mankins finish the Monday night game, he finished the season, becoming one of the rare, if not only, players to have played a 16-game season with a torn ACL.
"It's not the ideal situation to go out there, but that was the only time that I injured my knee last year, so it had to be the day," Mankins said in a Monday interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI, referring to Week 1 last season. "I don't really want to get into that stuff."
When a reporter asked Sunday whether the team knew he had a torn ACL or if it was something he kept private, Mankins said "no one knew."
Mankins' problems only multiplied in the playoffs. In the Patriots' postseason win over the Denver Broncos, Mankins tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee, leading him to play the Super Bowl against the New York Giants with torn ligaments in each knee.
Mankins would not confirm that and, in fact, seemed to cast some doubt when he told WEEI he suffered just one knee injury last season.
Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans marked six months since he underwent surgery on his torn ACL and one year since he suffered the injury.
Mankins began training camp this season on the physically unable to perform list. When he returned to practice Aug. 12, Mankins wouldn't reveal when he suffered the knee injury that required surgery, saying only that "it happened a long time ago, a lot longer than you would have thought it happened."
"It wasn't 100 percent, but it was still functionable," he explained in August of the torn right ACL. "I could still run, so there was no reason to sit out. There were no MRIs or anything, so we never knew exactly what was hurt. If you can still run and play, there is no reason to go see a doctor, right?"
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who suffered a gash on his nose in the second quarter of Sunday's victory in Nashville, joked that a "scratched nose" wouldn't be enough to keep him out of the game considering what Mankins went through.
"You talk about mind over matter, and love and mental toughness that goes into playing the game, and certainly he's the guy that sets the tone for the whole offense, and that entire offensive line group, they never complain," Brady said of Mankins on Monday morning in an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "And they just keep going out to battle, and you've got a guy like Logan who's got an injury that every single other person that I've ever known misses the year, and he has a Pro Bowl season.
"His toughness, his attitude, what he brings to our team in terms of his work ethic and his attitude is really unmatched. It's really a great example for all the guys on our team, both the young guys and the veterans, your commitment to the team, and really it takes precedent over what you may feel on a daily basis. He's as tough as they come."
When asked if Mankins was the toughest player Brady has ever played with, the quarterback noted that "he's right at the top of the list," while also mentioning former Patriots offensive linemen Matt Light, Dan Koppen and Stephen Neal, linebacker Tedy Bruschi, safety Rodney Harrison and current teammate Vince Wilfork.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Rodak and Field Yates contributed to this report.