BOSTON Teams

Scott Lauber ESPN Staff Writer 

Red Sox have placed reliever Matt Barnes on the disabled list with a low back strain and called up right-hander Hector Velazquez from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Dont'a Hightower is back at practice, as he is off the PUP list.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

The Patriots and Lions have changed their plans to hold a joint walkthrough on Thursday in Detroit. Instead, the teams will hold separate walkthrough practices. So this preseason ends with the Patriots having held two sets of joint practices, with the Jaguars and Texans.

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Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

RB Rex Burkhead touches on one of the themes in the Patriots' locker room Monday: How the team is treating Friday's preseason game at Detroit with a regular-season type feel.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

At the end of Bill Belichick's news conference Monday, he was asked in lighthearted fashion if he was an eclipse guy. He smiled, then shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah, yeah. It's great," he said, before walking away from the podium (still smiling).

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Here is how Tom Brady, during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI, described his 16-snap workload in Saturday's preseason game against the Texans: "I didn't play a ton, but certainly played enough to get out there and kind of feel what the rhythm of the game is like. It's always good in the preseason to be able to do that. So I was glad we got a chance to go down and score and hopefully we can build on it this week."

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots coach Bill Belichick's post-game news conference ended with a question on if there was a feeling of nostalgia returning to NRG Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LI. "That's all in the past," he responded. "I mean, it was great, but we're on to 2017. I don't think last year, two years ago or 12 years ago is that important. Trying to get this team ready to go, and this year's team is this year's team. It's my responsibility to make a strong commitment to this group. I'm not trying to live in the past. I'm not trying to live in the future. I'm just trying to do a good job with the team we have today."

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski played 15 of the team's first 17 snaps in the preseason opener, which was a surprise given that he hasn't played in the preseason since 2012. He wasn't targeted with a catchable pass. Meanwhile, Patriots QB Tom Brady played two series, totaling 17 snaps, and finishing 6 of 9 for 67 yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

With the Patriots thin at defensive end, it is notable that the club is not playing Trey Flowers in Saturday night's preseason game against the Texans. Flowers led the team with seven sacks last season. It is not believed that he is dealing with an injury, as he is one of the few top players not in action.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell, who didn't play in the preseason opener, is out on the field loosening up.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

TE Rob Gronkowski, who hasn't played in a preseason game since 2012, makes the walk across the field to the Patriots locker room.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski arrives at NRG Stadium in a Red Sox jersey.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Bill Belichick arrives on the later bus at NRG Field in Houston.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots QB Tom Brady arrives at NRG Field prior to Saturday night's preseason game against the Texans.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

The Patriots return to NRG Stadium in Houston 196 days after winning Super Bowl LI at the venue. The stakes are obviously not as high tonight as it is preseason game No. 2 -- Patriots at Texans (8 p.m. ET).

ESPN Stats and Information  

19 days until the NFL season: One record Bill Belichick doesn't have is most seasons making the playoffs, as Don Shula holds that record with 19. Belichick stands at 15.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Backup OT LaAdrian Waddle sustained a concussion in joint practices with the Texans, which was the reason he returned home instead of heading to Houston with the team. That adds context on his availability going forward. Waddle had a "good camp" and "good offseason", according to Bill Belichick, and is competing with Cam Fleming for the No. 3 OT role.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

The Patriots fear a season-ending knee injury for top draft pick Derek Rivers, sources tell ESPN. The defensive end from Youngstown State was injured on a kickoff coverage drill Wednesday.

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Guide to every NHL team's prospects

An in-depth examination of all 31 NHL prospect groups -- including each team's top 10 and their impact this season -- shows that the Flyers could soon be back among the East's top contenders.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

The Patriots have sent top draft pick Derek Rivers back to Boston for further evaluation on his left knee/leg injury. Rivers was limping significantly Wednesday after going down during a special teams drill. The Patriots have stayed in West Virginia and then will continue to Houston for Saturday's preseason game.

Sarah Barshop ESPN Staff Writer 

Tom Brady and Texans defensive coordinator and former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel chatted after practice.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson catch up after practice.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Top draft pick Derek Rivers (third round, 83rd overall) went down on a kickoff coverage drill with a left leg/knee injury. Rivers remained down on the ground, was examined by the team's head athletic trainer, and then walked off under his own power.

Sarah Barshop ESPN Staff Writer 

Former Indiana coach Tom Crean is at today's joint practice between the Texans and Patriots.