On Sunday, the 5-0 New England Patriots will play host to the 4-1 New York Jets in a battle for AFC East supremacy. The Patriots released their first injury report of the week today and looking at it, we find that team is a little dinged up heading into the matchup with its division rival.
Per Mark Daniels, here is a look at today's injury reports:
Here's your Patriots-Jets injury report: pic.twitter.com/0NWXFCJ1Rm— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) October 21, 2015
Two of the biggest names on the report are linebacker Dont'a Hightower and Matthew Slater, who both practiced today, albeit in limited fashion. Hightower left New England's week 5 game in Dallas and sat out last Sunday's game against the Colts, even though he started practicing last week. Slater left the game in Indianapolis after injuring his knee. The injury looked severe as the All-Pro had to be comforted off the field by teammates. It seems as if the Patriots dodged a bullet in both cases, though, and Hightower and Slater might be back on the field sooner than initially thought.
On the other end of the spectrum we find a few key guys that did not practice. Marcus Cannon and Shaq Mason are starters along the offensive line and one or both not playing against arguably the best defense in the NFL would be a tough loss to compensate. Given the fact that New England has a short week after its game against the Jets, it wouldn't be a surprise, though, to see Cannon and Mason as well as Jabaal Sheard and Rufus Johnson (among others) sit out the contest in order to get fully healthy. But, knowing the Patriots, they might as well play significant snaps on Sunday.
While the Patriots' injury report doesn't list them – they are not officially on the team's 53-man roster – center Bryan Stork (on IR-return) and wide receiver Brandon LaFell (on PUP) returned to practice today. This is obviously good news for the team and the players, as it seems both will be back in the upcoming weeks to make an already potent Patriots attack even more dangerous.