When the New England Patriots take the field in Week 13 for their big playoff rematch against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, they’ll do it without one of their top offensive players.
Running back Damien Harris has been ruled out for Thursday’s game due to a thigh injury. It was previously reported that Harris would be on a week-to-week basis and that he would likely miss Thursday’s game. The Patriots made it official on Wednesday just a little bit more than 24 hours before kickoff.
Harris suffered the thigh injury in the second of the Patriots’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving night. He left the field with an obvious limp and was on crutches in the locker room after the game.
The thigh injury is just one of the few ailments Harris has dealt with since the beginning of October. Harris suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of the Patriots’ Week 5 win over the Detroit Lions, knocking him out of that game and missing the following game as a result. He also missed the Patriots’ Week 9 win over the Indianapolis Colts due to an illness.
This is Melissa Berman reporting that Damien Harris is heading to the locker room, you heard it here first pic.twitter.com/GtucNuef2Q
— Melissa Berman (@Melissa_Berman) November 25, 2022
Harris didn’t have many touches in the four games he played in following the hamstring injury. He only had 27 carries for 126 yards over that stretch.
With Harris out, the Patriots will likely heavily rely on Rhamondre Stevenson again. The second-year running back has played roughly 80 percent of the Patriots’ snaps at running back since Harris went down in Week 5. New England also has rookie running backs Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris on the roster, though neither has really made an impact at all on offense this season. The Patriots could also call up J.J. Taylor from the practice squad.
In addition to Harris, offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn was also ruled out due to a foot injury. He missed last week’s game against the Vikings due to the same injury, which he suffered in Week 11 against the New York Jets. With Wynn out, Trent Brown and Yodny Cajuste will likely be the Patriots’ starting offensive tackles again.
The Patriots have some good news though on the injury front. Despite being listed as questionable, both wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (shoulder) and center David Andrews (thigh) have indicated they will play on Thursday. Meyers played limited snaps against the Vikings due to the shoulder injury he suffered on the opening play while Andrews missed last week’s game after suffering the thigh injury against the Jets a few days prior.