Gordon had been playing through a left knee injury and was knocked out of the team's Oct. 10 win over the New York Giants when he injured the knee while attempting to make a tackle after a Patriots fumble. He missed New England's 33-0 win over the New York Jets on Monday.
Through six games, Gordon had been starting alongside Julian Edelman and totaled 20 catches for 287 yards and one touchdown.
The move caught some close to the situation -- and possibly Gordon himself -- by surprise, sources told ESPN. He responded to an Instagram post on the news with the word "interesting."
Although Gordon's season with the Patriots is over, he could play for another team.
The Patriots used the "minor" injured reserve designation with him, which means the team has to release him upon his return to health.
If this happens after Tuesday's trade deadline, Gordon would be subject to waivers, any team could put in a claim for him, and he could be on a roster at that time.
Gordon, according to a source, believes he isn't too far from a return to health.
The Patriots, meanwhile, have Edelman, Phillip Dorsett and newly acquired Mohamed Sanu atop the depth chart. Also, first-round draft choice N'Keal Harry is eligible to play Nov. 3 against the Baltimore Ravens after being designated to return off injured reserve (knee).
Gordon is eligible for unrestricted free agency after the season. He was indefinitely suspended at the end of last season for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the league's substance abuse policy. Commissioner Roger Goodell lifted that ban on Aug. 16, allowing Gordon to open the season on the active roster.
The Patriots are expected to use their final designated-to-return spot on offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn, which would mean that Gordon's season with the Patriots is over. Teams can designate only two players to return off IR.