According to a report Monday morning in the Boston Herald, ( link) Patriots running back Laurence Maroney underwent off-season exploratory surgery to investigate pain in his shoulder. When the results came back, they were not good. Maroney has "significant damage" according to the report that cites a league source.
The revelation doesn't bode well for New England's offense, which saw the release of veteran Corey Dillon in early March. Although the team acquired free agent Sammy Morris, re-signed fullback Heath Evans and still has Kevin Faulk on the roster, losing Maroney would be a big blow to the Patriots' hopes of establishing Maroney as their feature back. It could also be an indication why the Patriots have been taking a close look at top running backs in the Draft.
The unusual pattern of Patriots scouts meeting and working out top running backs (as reported by Patriots Insider previously) sheds light on the team's Draft strategy now that Maroney's injury concerns have surfaced. A number of those reports indicate that New England has been looking at rushers that are ranked as first or second round Draft picks. Should Maroney have any difficulty returning to full health, adding a top rusher would give the Patriots the insurance they need to maintain a strong ground game until he can return.