Thursday night’s matchup between the New York Jets and New England Patriots has no shortage of storylines, including several injury question marks that will have major implications for both the game and fantasy.
Of particular note are injuries to several of the Patriots’ key offensive weapons. Here’s an updated look at New England’s injured offensive players heading into Thursday’s game:
Danny Amendola, groin (D): Last week, Amendola was listed as probable heading into Sunday, started the game, left the game for a while after aggravating his groin injury and unexpectedly returned and gutted it out to deliver a strong performance.
This week -- which, to be fair, is only four days later -- Amendola is designated as doubtful, is not expected to play and may just be living up to expectations, at least when it comes to injury.
Amendola sustained the groin injury in the middle of the preseason and spent the next couple of weeks focusing on a rehab program with the intent of playing in Week 1. However, he was not quite 100 percent, a fact that was exposed when he came up hobbling and immediately reached for the injured area. After that setback, it’s clear that he can’t be expected to be fully healthy just days later, despite the grittiness he showed by returning to Sunday’s game.
If Amendola sits out Thursday, he then has at least two full weeks to recuperate, longer if necessary. The team may opt to proceed conservatively given that Amendola suffered a setback in his first game action following the initial injury. It seems logical the Patriots will choose that option, something they have already hinted at by designating him as doubtful -- which was supported by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss.
The bigger question is not necessarily when Amendola will recover from this ailment but whether he can get past it and stay on the field for the remainder of the season.
With Shane Vereen sidelined until at least Week 11 after undergoing surgery to repair a broken bone in his wrist, the Patriots need their other running backs to be healthy.
Stevan Ridley, shoulder (P): Ridley may be on the injury report, but the expectation is that he will play. He was able to practice fully Tuesday and Wednesday, and the probable designation indicates the team plans on having him.
Brandon Bolden, knee (Q): Bolden missed the first week’s game with a knee ailment. He has been limited in practice throughout the week, and his lingering questionable status makes him iffy to play Thursday.
Leon Washington, thigh (Q): Washington is listed with a thigh injury but participated on a limited basis all week and has a chance to suit up. He was inactive for last week’s game but had just re-signed with the Patriots after they released him following the preseason.
Are there any running backs not on the injury report? Just one: LeGarrette Blount. The Patriots have to hope they get through Week 2 without losing any more depth at the position to injury.
Rob Gronkowski, back/forearm (D): Gronkowski is not going to suit up for Thursday night’s game, which does not come as a great shock after he didn’t even travel with the team in Week 1. Gronkowski is certainly worth keeping an eye on as he continues to practice with the team on a limited basis, steadily increasing his workload toward a return to competition. The Patriots have not indicated when that return might happen, but his presence on the active roster hints at a return before Week 6 if all continues well.
Zach Sudfeld, hamstring (Q): Sudfeld became such an exciting player to watch in the preseason that his collegiate injury history -- including shoulder, knee, wrist and leg ailments -- was generally overlooked. Sudfeld has been dealing with a hamstring ailment and has been limited in practice throughout the week. Given the injury, he is not a lock to start and could come down to a game-time decision.