The New England Patriots are comparatively in good physical condition at this point during the season: while the team does have 12 players on injury-related, season-ending reserve lists, the core of the roster is very much as healthy as can be expected after 16 games. However, there are still some questions lingering when it comes to the outlook of three individual players: tight ends Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister, and safety Devin McCourty.
Allen and McCourty were both absent during New England’s final practice of the week as they are rehabbing from a knee injury and concussion, respectively. While Hollister was present for the session, he did move noticeably slowly due to a hamstring issue that has bothered him all year long. And if ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss is to be believed, the injury might be serious enough to cost him the postseason:
Although there’s always a chance for things to change depending on how deep the Patriots play into the postseason, the sense I get is that it’s highly unlikely second-year tight end Jacob Hollister (hamstring) will be healthy enough to be an option for the coaching staff this postseason. Hollister was hardly moving at practice — with practice-squad tight end Stephen Anderson taking reps before him in individual drills.
Hollister was limited to just eight games during the regular season, missing six games due to his hamstring and two more because of a chest injury. But even when healthy, his contributions were limited: as the Patriots’ third tight end, the 25-year old saw only limited action on offense — he played a combined 59 snaps and caught four passes for 52 yards — and was more regularly used in the kicking game.
If Hollister indeed will be unable to go during the playoffs, look for the Patriots to promote Stephen Anderson: the 25-year old has collected plenty of experience in New England’s system since joining the club via its practice squad in early September. Furthermore, he has caught 36 passes for 435 yards and two touchdowns in his career.