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Patriots will have to face the Chiefs without running back Sony Michel after downgrading him to ‘out’

Related: Patriots vs. Chiefs Friday injury report: Cody Davis ruled out, five questionable for New England

Las Vegas Raiders v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

While the biggest absentee for the New England Patriots against the Kansas City Chiefs tonight is undoubtably Cam Newton — the team’s quarterback tested positive for the Coronavirus late on Friday — the team will also be without its number one running back: as the Patriots announced on Monday morning, running back Sony Michel has been downgraded to “out” after being listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.

Coming off his best game of the season against the Las Vegas Raiders, Michel popped up on the injury list on Wednesday because of a quad issue. The ailment limited him all week in practice and apparently has now forced the team to deactivate him for the road game in Kansas City.

With the former first-round pick unable to go, the Patriots’ running back depth will be tested. Undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor projects to be the next man up in light of Michel’s absence, with Rex Burkhead serving as a change-of-pace option alongside him. Receiving back James White, meanwhile, is also expected back: he returned to practice earlier this week after having missed the previous two games following the sudden passing of his father.

The Patriots might also decide to go to their injured reserve list for reinforcements: Damien Harris was back on the practice fields this week after missing three games due to a finger injury. The second-year man, who was one of New England’s standouts during training camp, is eligible to be activated to the 53-man squad until later this afternoon. The team does have two open spots after moving Cam Newton to the Reserve/Covid-19 list on Saturday.

Michel, meanwhile, joins special teams ace Cody Davis on the inactives list.