Patriots rule out WR Boyce for Sunday

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As expected, the New England Patriots have ruled rookie receiver Josh Boyce out for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens due to an ankle injury.

Boyce, the team’s primary kickoff returner who had taken on an expanded role at receiver the past two weeks because of injuries to others, had not practiced all week after injuring the ankle in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins. Running back LeGarrette Blount and safety Devin McCourty are top candidates to take over the kickoff return duties.

At receiver, reinforcements appear to be coming in the form of rookie receivers Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip), both of whom are questionable but have their best chance to suit up since sustaining their injuries. Dobson, who has missed the past three games, said Thursday that he thinks he has a chance to play. He’s been limited in practice all week, his first full week of practice since leaving the team’s Nov. 24 win over the Denver Broncos in the second half. Thompkins has also been limited all week after injuring his hip Dec. 1 against Houston.

Elsewhere, starting left tackle Nate Solder is questionable with a concussion. He was not present at Wednesday’s practice before he was limited in Thursday’s and Friday’s practices.