FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly wasn't at Friday's practice, marking the third straight day he hasn't been on the field with his teammates, which puts his status in doubt for Sunday's game against the Saints.
Kelly left Sunday's 13-6 loss to the Bengals with a right knee injury.
Should the New England Patriots be without Kelly, it would be a double-barreled blow because they also lost starting defensive tackle Vince Wilfork to a torn Achilles on Sept. 29. So they could be down to their third-, fourth- and fifth-string options at defensive tackle -- rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones and four-year veteran Andre Neblett, who was signed Wednesday.
On Neblett, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, "He has some experience, played at Carolina and Tampa in preseason; we played against him. He has good playing strength and he's played a decent number of plays over the past three years, couple hundred plays a year, so he has some experience."
Belichick said the 6-foot-0, 310-pound Neblett has played both three-technique (outside shade on guard) and nose tackle.
Elsewhere on the injury front, veteran running back Leon Washington was the other player not spotted at Friday's practice. He's been absent all week after injuring his ankle in Sunday's loss to the Bengals and is unlikely to play against the Saints.