In only four days, the New England Patriots’ 2016 regular season comes to a close. The team will head to South Florida to take on the playoff-bound Miami Dolphins in its week 17 matchup, and while Bill Belichick dismissed the notion of resting starters, he might be forced to do just that.
A look at the first practice report of the week shows why:
WR Danny Amendola (Ankle): Did not practice
QB Tom Brady (Thigh): Did not practice
RB Dion Lewis (Illness): Did not practice
WR Malcolm Mitchell (Knee): Did not practice
TE Martellus Bennett (Ankle/Shoulder): Limited participation
LB Dont’a Hightower (Knee): Limited participation
CB Cyrus Jones (Knee): Limited participation
WR Matthew Slater (Foot): Limited participation
Amendola has been absent from practice since after the Patriots’ game against the Rams, so the team will likely continue resting him until the playoffs start. The same might also be true for Lewis and Mitchell, depending on the severity of their respective illness and injury.
Brady, who has been bothered by a thigh injury since last week, had no visible limitations on Sunday against the New York Jets. Therefore, he was likely simply rested today and should return to practice soon and ultimately start against Miami.
Of those limited today, Dont’a Hightower and Matthew Slater are the most likely to continue practicing but be rested again this week. Bennett and Jones, on the other hand, will likely not be substantially bothered by their injuries come Sunday.