Later today, the New England Patriots will host the Los Angeles Chargers in what will be the defending world champions last game before their bye week. And the team is limping towards its weekend off, as a look at the latest injury report shows. Three players have already been ruled out to participate today, while six are listed as questionable.
Among the latter group is wide receiver Danny Amendola, who is dealing with a hyperextended knee he suffered on a punt return last week against the Atlanta Falcons. The veteran, who serves as the Patriots' top punt returner, missed the first listed practice of the week because of the injury but returned on Thursday and Friday in limited capacity.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the injury makes Amendola a game-time decision today:
#Patriots WR Danny Amendola, questionable with a hyperextended knee, is a game-time decision today, though there's confidence he'll go.
This confidence has been expressed by Amendola himself earlier during the week (via the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe):
Danny Amendola says he’ll play Sunday.
Due to his role as a member of multiple offensive groups, Amendola being on the field would certainly be big for Josh McDaniels' unit and quarterback Tom Brady. After all, the 31-year old is one of the most trusted and reliable players on the team and is known for his ability to step up in the big moments - something his likely replacement Phillip Dorsett has not yet shown within the Patriots' system.
Of course, playing it safe is ultimately the best way to tackle Amendola's injury. The goal is for him to be ready long-term and once the postseason starts. But maybe simply removing him from punt return duties to limit his exposure would also help accomplish just that. We will see later today what New England opts to do.