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Patriots downgrade linebacker Dont’a Hightower to out for Week 18 against Dolphins

Dont’a Hightower had been listed as questionable due to a knee injury.

NFL: New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have downgraded linebacker Dont’a Hightower to out for Sunday’s finale against the Miami Dolphins.

Limited in practice for consecutive weeks due to a knee issue, Hightower had been listed as questionable on the final injury report. The team captain was active yet played a season-low 14 defensive snaps in what became a 50-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars as the calendar turned to January.

Since returning from his Covid-19 opt-out year, Hightower has started 15 games. The three-time Super Bowl champion, two-time Pro Bowler and Patriots All-Decade selection stands with 64 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one pass deflection over that span.

Hightower, 31, was previously sidelined for an October matchup with the New York Jets because of elbow and ankle injuries.

New England ruled out safety Kyle Dugger due to a hand injury on Friday after three consecutive missed practices. Running back Damien Harris, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn, center David Andrews, defensive tackle Christian Barmore, safety Adrian Phillips, special-teamer Cody Davis and kicker Nick Folk remain questionable to face Miami.

The AFC East kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium is set for 4:25 p.m. ET.