By Gregory Hunt
As the Patriots prepare for Sunday night’s contest against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field, New England’s injury list continues to grow. The team has lost a significant number of players on offense, and the most recent loss was wide receiver Aaron Dobson, whose season came to an end when he was placed on the injured reserve list on Thursday. He was expected to help pick up the slack from the loss of Julian Edelman, who is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season, but then he suffered an ankle injury while making a catch against the Buffalo Bills last week.
The good news is that injured receivers Danny Amendola and Keshawn Martin may see action against the Broncos. Amendola left the game against Buffalo with a knee injury, but he came back to limited practice on Thursday after being held out of practice on Wednesday. Martin has been battling a hamstring injury for several weeks and was inactive against Buffalo, but he is engaging in limited practice this week. The Patriots did not sign any receivers to replace Dobson, so Martin may be asked to play through his injury against Denver
New England’s offensive line also continues to have injury problems. Guard Tre’ Jackson is dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of the Buffalo game. Tackle Sebastian Vollmer is listed on this week’s report with a concussion, but he played against Buffalo, although he didn’t start. Guard Shaq Mason and tackle Marcus Cannon both started against Buffalo, but Mason is suffering from a knee injury while Cannon is hobbled by a toe injury. Cannon struggled in blocking Buffalo defensive end Jerry Hughes last week, but it is uncertain if Cannon’s toe was a factor.
Tight end Michael Williams also started against Buffalo, but now he makes his first appearance on the injury report this season with a knee injury. Fellow tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler are still perfectly healthy, and a fourth tight end, Asante Cleveland, was promoted from the practice squad this week after the Patriots released linebacker Eric Martin, so there’s a good chance Williams will be inactive against Denver.
On defense, an ongoing illness for linebacker Jamie Collins has forced him to miss the past three games, but he finally returned to practice on Friday. There’s no word on whether he’ll be active against Denver. Cornerback Justin Coleman definitely won’t play at Denver, as he has missed the entire week of practice due to a hand injury. Defensive tackle Alan Branch (elbow) and linebacker Chandler Jones (abdomen) both started against Buffalo, so even though both of them have been limited at practice this week, both of them will likely start against the Broncos.
Full participation in practice:
Sebastian Vollmer, tackle (concussion)
Limited participation in practice:
Danny Amendola, wide receiver, (knee)
Alan Branch, defensive tackle (elbow)
Marcus Cannon, tackle (toe)
Jamie Collins, linebacker (illness)
Tre’ Jackson, guard (knee)
Chandler Jones, defensive end (abdomen)
Keshawn Martin, wide receiver (hamstring)
Shaq Mason, guard (knee)
Michael Williams, tight end (knee)
Did not participate in practice:
Justin Coleman, cornerback (hand)
Julian Edelman, wide receiver (foot)
Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He’s also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women’s college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.