In only two days, the New England Patriots will enter the playoff race. The team will host the Houston Texans in the divisional round; a game for which the preparation is already underway. As part of it, the Patriots held their third straight practice session today.
And as has been the case the entire week, participation was good. A look at today’s injury report confirms this.
Did not participate
RB LeGarrette Blount (illness)
The Patriots’ leading rusher missed his second straight practice due to an illness. Given that he reportedly was at Gillette Stadium yesterday, the team might simply opt to give him as much time as necessary to recover – which in turn means that he might still be active on Saturday despite missing two sessions.
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
With the return of Danny Amendola, the Patriots have a lot of depth at wide receiver. This means that they can afford to limit Mitchell until his knee injury is fully healed, even if this means a limited workload against Houston.
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
Amendola missed the Patriots last four regular season games but appears to be well on his way to playing against the Texans. With Mitchell limited and Cyrus Jones struggling as a returner, his availability becomes even more important – especially considering the high stakes of Saturday’s game.
Removed from list
QB Tom Brady (thigh)
CB Cyrus Jones (knee)
WR Matthew Slater (foot)
Brady, Jones and Slater were full participants yesterday and the next logical step was removing them from the injury list altogether. This move happened today as all three are fully ready to go against the Texans.
As today’s injury report shows, the Patriots are in great shape heading into their playoff opener. While LeGarrette Blount’s availability remains a question mark, the rest of the team seems to be in to physical shape.
The Houston Texans, for comparison are also getting healthier, as five players were upgraded to full participation today: Guard Jeff Allen, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Jonathan Joseph and linebackers Brian Cushing and Whitney Mercilus all seem ready to go on Saturday.
Four players – one of whom a new addition – remain limited, though. Safety Quintin Demps, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and linebacker John Simon all did not yet practice fully. They were joined by cornerback A.J. Bouye, who was a full participant during yesterday’s session.