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Week 1 Patriots vs Texans: First-round rookie running back Sony Michel not expected to play

The rookie will have to wait for his NFL debut.

NFL: New England Patriots-OTA Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have one of the deepest offensive backfields in the NFL – and it looks as if its depth will be tested today when the team opens its 2018 regular season against the Houston Texans. According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, first-round rookie running back Sony Michel is expected to miss the contest which would have been his NFL debut:

Patriots’ RB Sony Michel, listed as questionable for opener against the Texans due to a knee injury, is not expected to play today, per source.

As Schefer notes, Michel was listed as questionable on Friday’s final injury reported after being a limited practice participant all week long. The Georgia product, who was drafted by the Patriots with the 31st overall selection earlier this year, is dealing with a knee injury that cost him more than three weeks worth of practice time in training camp: Michel originally injured his knee on August 1 and did not return until August 27.

The rookie missed all four of New England’s preseason contests and will now have to wait at least one more week for his first game action at the pro level. During his absence, Rex Burkhead and fellow offseason addition Jeremy Hill are projected to serve as the Patriots’ lead backs on early downs. James White, meanwhile, will again be the team’s primary receiving back.