Rob Ninkovich injury likely led to Patriots' move to sign Dekoda Watson

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One injury can have a significant trickle-down effect and spark a roster move.

That was the first thought that came to mind when learning that the New England Patriots are filling the open spot on their 53-man roster with veteran linebacker Dekoda Watson.

Rob Ninkovich, who came up hobbling during Sunday's loss to the New York Jets, has been playing on the punt coverage unit the past three weeks. His inclusion on that unit came after a critical breakdown that led to a block returned for a touchdown in a Dec. 6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Ninkovich likely unable to fulfill those duties in the season finale at Miami, reinforcements were needed.

Enter Watson, who can fill in there and on the other core special-teams units. That's been his specialty over his six-year career.

Watson was with the Patriots for two games earlier in the season -- the Sept. 20 win over Buffalo and the Sept. 27 victory over Jacksonville -- before he was released. He had been with the team in training camp and previously shared his "football journey" with ESPN.com.

In addition to the signing of Watson, rookie Patriots running back/fullback Joey Iosefa cleared waivers and is expected to re-sign with the team's practice squad.