The latest departure from the Patriots after the team's stunning loss in the AFC Championship game is the medical director, Dr. Matthew Provencher.
The Patriots were considered the NFL's most injury-plagued team this season, their players missing a combined 245 games. The team ultimately succumbed in part due to injuries, with numerous players unable to return to the field for pivotal games. The Patriots lost five of their last eight contests, including the AFC title game to Denver.
Provencher also resigned Thursday as chief of the sports medicine service at Massachusetts General Hospital. The hospital's chief of sports medicine has traditionally served as the Patriots' medical director.
Provencher said he has accepted a position, beginning in April, as an orthopedic surgeon at the Steadman Clinic, a renowned sports medicine facility in Vail, Colo. He cited family reasons for his decision.
"I feel privileged to have had the chance to serve as medical director of the New England Patriots — it is the best job I could ever imagine,'' Provencher said in a statement issued by Mass. General. "I have great respect and admiration for the Kraft Group, the Kraft family, Bill Belichick and his staff, the Patriots training staff, and the amazing players. The commitment to mission, excellence, and strong sense of team that I have experienced at both the MGH and within the Patriots organization these past few years are unparalleled."
Before he arrived at Mass. General in 2013, Provencher was director of orthopedic surgery at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. He had no experience as a medical director for a professional sports team before he succeeded Dr. Thomas Gill with the Patriots in 2014.
Word of Provencher's departure came a day after the Patriots chose not to retain their head strength and conditioning coach, Harold Nash. Earlier in the week, they cut ties with offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, after the Patriots' line was ravaged last Sunday by the Broncos.
Two Patriots offensive linemen, Nate Solder and Ryan Wendell, were among the players lost to injury this season. Other season-ending injuries afflicted running backs LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis, receiver Aaron Dobson, cornerback Tarell Brown, and defensive lineman Dominique Easley.
Several other high-impact Patriots — Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Rob Gronkowski among them — also missed important games because of injuries.
There was no word yet on Provencher's successor in Foxborough. The Patriots' medical staff this season included five other Mass. General surgeons, including Dr. Peter Asnis, the head team physician for the Bruins.
Mass. General has named Asnis the acting chief of its sports medicine service. Whether Asnis has the time and desire to oversee medical care for both the Bruins and Patriots remains to be seen. He also serves as the head team orthopedist for the Red Sox
Mass. General, which has a sponsorship deal with the Patriots, has provided the team's medical director since 1982. Provencher stepped in after Gill departed Mass. General in controversy. The Globe reported in 2014 that Gill, who had served seven years as the hospital's sports medicine chief, was forced from his job after a bitter turf war involving hospital officials and surgeons.
Gill is now chairman of the orthopedics department at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center and continues to provide medical care to many professional athletes, including Patriots. He performed surgery Wednesday on linebacker Jerod Mayo's pectoral muscle.
Mass. General, in its statement, praised Provencher for overseeing the expansion of the hospital's sports medicine clinical services and helping to broaden the division's research and educational programs.
Provencher expressed gratitude for the opportunity and experience.
"Deciding to leave the MGH has been very difficult for me, but this is a family decision, and I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead in Colorado,'' he said.
Bob Hohler can be reached at email@example.com.