Patriots QB Mac Jones suffers back injury in loss to Dolphins

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Mac Jones suffers back injury in Patriots' Week 1 loss to Dolphins originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Patriots can't afford to lose Mac Jones, which is why Sunday's developments after New England's season-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins are a bit troubling.

Jones exited the field at Hard Rock Stadium after the Patriots' 20-7 loss and headed into an in-stadium X-ray room alongside Patriots medical personnel, according to our Phil Perry.

Jones was only in the X-ray room for about five minutes, per Perry, but he appeared to be walking gingerly toward New England's locker room upon his exit.

It's still unclear why Jones headed into the X-ray room, but the second-year quarterback took several hard hits from Miami's defense in Sunday's game, including a high shot from Dolphins safety Jevon Holland early in the fourth quarter that resulted in a roughing the passer penalty.

UPDATE (5:10 p.m. ET): The Patriots announced Jones has a back injury, and the QB didn't meet with reporters after the game. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports X-rays on Jones' back were negative.

Considering the Patriots mustered just 271 yards of total offense with Jones in Week 1 -- and his backups are rookie Bailey Zappe and 36-year-old Brian Hoyer -- his situation is certainly worth monitoring.