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Update: Patriots-Bengals Preview: Which Injury-List Players Will Play on Sunday?

Will Patriots WR Danny Amendola return against the Bengals?
Will Patriots WR Danny Amendola return against the Bengals?Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Samer IsmailAnalyst IIOctober 5, 2013

Update: Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that tight end Rob Gronkowski did not travel with the Patriots, and has been downgraded to out; however, wide receiver Danny Amendola did make the trip to Cincinnati.

Furthermore, Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reports that safety Tavon Wilson has also been downgraded to out.

On Friday, the New England Patriots released their last injury report before their Week 5 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

A grand total of 14 players were listed, a bit of an improvement from Thursday, when 17 players were either "limited" or "absent."

As of the end of the league day on Friday, the Patriots had just 51 players on their active roster. Since Wednesday, the Patriots have opened up three spots on the roster—placing defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on injured reserve and releasing both tight end Zach Sudfeld and cornerback Marquice Cole, per the team's official website—but have only added one, wide receiver Austin Collie.

Thus, the Patriots only need to deactivate five players currently on their roster, as opposed to the normal seven. It is quite likely, though, that the Patriots will deactivate more than that; any players they sign or promote off the practice squad are likely to play on Sunday.

 

Running back Stevan Ridley was declared out on Friday and will not play. Brandon Bolden and Leon Washington are both limited with leg injuries and are both listed as questionable. Both were on the injury report against the Atlanta Falcons with the same injuries; since Bolden played while Washington didn't, it seems likely that the same will hold this week.

 

Matthew Slater was upgraded from "out" against the Falcons to "doubtful" against the Bengals (doubtful means a less than 25 percent chance of playing).

Three other receivers—Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins—are listed as questionable. Amendola did not make the trip to Atlanta, but according to Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com, he is "looking forward to Sunday."

 

The biggest question mark of all is probably All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Ben Volin of Boston.com reported last Saturday—contrary to most reports—that both Amendola and Gronk were expected to return for the Falcons game; neither played. Reports this week have generally not been optimistic about Gronk returning this week. Adam Schefter, on Twitter, cites a source that says Gronk is unlikely to return this week either.

 

Not much to see here: Both Svitek and Vollmer played last week, so, barring a setback, both should be active this week.

 

The Patriots lost Vince Wilfork for the season to a torn Achilles tendon (Wilfork has already had surgery on the leg), but have yet to fill his spot on the roster. Fortunately, none of the Patriots' other defensive linemen are on the injury report.

Mayo was on the injury list last week with the same injury, but played; Hightower is a new addition this week.

For the third time this season, the Patriots released cornerback Marquice Cole, leading Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com to compare him to the oft-released Ross Ventrone. As with Wilfork, the Patriots have not named a replacement. Safety Tavon Wilson, who has been largely relegated to special teams, is a new addition this week.

 

Prediction

Based on the information reported so far, I expect that the Patriots' seven inactives this week will be:

  • RB Stevan Ridley (confirmed)
  • RB Leon Washington
  • TE Rob Gronkowski (confirmed)
  • WR Aaron Dobson 
  • S Tavon Wilson (confirmed)
  • LB Steve Beauharnais (healthy scratch)
  • OL Chris Barker (healthy scratch) WR/ST Matthew Slater

Beauharnais and Barker were both inactive last week as well. The last healthy scratch from Week 4 was DE Jake Bequette. With the injury to Vince Wilfork, I expect that they will try to have as many healthy DLs as possible available to experiment.

Update: Thank you to Alex Peters for pointing out that I had mistakenly left Matthew Slater off the list; I've added him to the list and removed Chris Barker.

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