NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the early diagnosis for Atlanta Falcons left tackle Sam Baker’s knee injury is a torn patellar tendon. Baker was carted off the field in the second quarter in Saturday night’s loss to the Houston Texans after suffering an injury to his right knee. Rapoport reports that the Falcons will conduct tests to confirm the diagnosis, but it looks likely that if the initial one is correct, Baker will miss the entire 2014 season.
A torn patellar tendon could be a costly injury for Baker, and possibly end his career as a Falcon. The Falcons clearly took their left tackle of the future with 2014 first-round pick Jake Matthews and whether he is slotted to the left side this season remains to be seen. Matthews has played the majority of his snaps thus far at right tackle, and the Falcons plugged Lamar Holmes into the lineup after Baker’s injury on Saturday.
Baker carries a cap hit of $7.3 million in 2015 and turns 30 next May. A torn patellar tendon was the same injury that cost Tampa Bay Buccaneers right guard Davin Joseph his entire 2012 season. Joseph returned in 2013, to earn one of the worst grades on premium website Pro Football Focus’ offensive linemen rankings. Joseph ranked 80th out of 81 guards in 2013 after earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2011.