Consider it the cost of victory.
The Patriots’ Super Bowl run subjected their players to three more games of wear and tear after the regular season. And when the Patriots begin their offseason workout program in a little over three weeks, several key contributors will be watching from the sideline or the training room as they recover from postseason surgeries, league sources confirmed to the Globe.
The most serious appears to be linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who will be out 6-7 months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right labrum Feb. 10. The timetable might affect his readiness for the start of the regular season in early September.
Hightower missed the Week 14 game against the Chargers and sat out the meaningless Week 17 game against the Bills, but otherwise played through the injury for the final stretch of the season, playing 321 of a possible 327 snaps over five games.
Hightower had 33 tackles and 1.5 sacks while playing through the injury, and made an impressive game-saving tackle on Marshawn Lynch at the 1-yard line in the final minute of the Super Bowl, leading with his shoulder.
Hightower posted a picture of himself in a hospital gown and sling on Instagram, with the caption, “The process begins now!! #rehab #determined”
Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer also had surgery to fix a torn labrum, which he also played through for most of the 2014 season.
Vollmer started 18 of 19 games (sitting out Week 17 against the Bills), and was third on the offense with 1,222 snaps played (90 percent). While Vollmer will miss the spring offseason program, a league source said he “absolutely” will be ready for training camp in late July.
Right guard Ryan Wendell also underwent shoulder surgery, although this procedure was considered more of a minor cleanup. Wendell started the final 15 games of the season and was fifth on the Patriots offense with 1,100 snaps played (81 percent).
And finally, defensive tackle Chris Jones had surgery to repair a torn calf. Jones, a role player who had 25 tackles and three sacks in his second NFL season, saw his playing time decrease toward the end of the season.
He played between 25 and 50 snaps per game through the middle portion of the season, but played just 14 snaps against the Ravens in the playoffs, did not suit up against the Colts in the AFC Championship game, and played only 10 snaps in the Super Bowl.
However, the Patriots will count on Jones to be a key part of the defensive tackle rotation next season, particularly with the departure of Vince Wilfork. Sealver Siliga, Alan Branch, and Dominique Easley (who ended the season on injured reserve with a knee injury but avoided surgery) are also key parts of the rotation.
The Patriots are also expected to address defensive tackle in next month’s NFL Draft.