The New England Patriots play the Green Bay Packers in prime time and the Packers are much, much healthier. Apparently, there’s been a wave of illness sweeping Foxborough, leaving numerous players sidelined or affected.
For the Patriots, at least DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (illness) returned to practice in full capacity and was removed from the injury report.
Here’s the report from Thursday.
Did Not Practice
Patriots: OG Shaq Mason (calf), OL Brian Schwenke (foot), LB Nicholas Grigsby (illness), TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back)
Gronkowski was absent on Thursday, which is concerning. Hopefully he’ll return on Friday and that he was only receiving maintenance, but it’s clear that the All Pro tight end has been dealing with some serious injuries. Hopefully he’s okay in the long term.
Mason is the Patriots starting right guard and he’s missed the past two practices. Ted Karras is likely to start in his place, but if Schwenke and Marcus Cannon remain sidelined then the Patriots will only have Cole Croston to back-up all five positions on the offensive line.
Patriots: P Ryan Allen (left ankle), OT Trent Brown (ankle), OT Marcus Cannon (concussion), LS Joe Cardona (shoulder), WR Josh Gordon (hamstring), DE Geneo Grissom (ankle), LB Dont’a Hightower (knee), RB Sony Michel (knee), DE John Simon (shoulder), WR Julian Edelman (ankle), TE Jacob Hollister (hamstring),
Packers: WR Geronimo Allison (hamstring), OT Bryan Bulaga (knee), WR Randall Cobb (hamstring), TE Jimmy Graham (knee), WR Equanimeous St. Brown (knee), OL Corey Linsley (knee), LB Nick Perry (ankle), S Jermaine Whitehead (back)
Edelman and Hollister returned to practice, which is extremely important if Gronkowski is unable to play. Edelman is the engine of the passing attack and Hollister would be called upon to replace Gronk in the lineup. Still, this is a lengthy injury report for New England.
Both Perry and Whitehead returned to practice for the Packers.
Packers: CB Jaire Alexander (groin), QB Aaron Rodgers (knee)
Two of the more important Packers are fully back in action.