Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots have been trying to live by the “next man up” credo for the last four weeks now. Unfortunately, just as they start to get some guys healthy enough to possibly return to action, they suffer yet another series of setbacks.
Starting running back Stevan Ridley will miss the Bengals game this Sunday with a knee injury. With both Ridley and Shane Vereen out of commission, the Patriots will likely turn to LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden to step up in their absence. Although, Bolden is also listed as questionable against the Bengals as he deals with his own knee issues.
Meanwhile, the receiver position continues to get decimated with injuries—the latest victim being rookie Aaron Dobson, who left the game last week with a gruesome neck injury. He’s currently listed as questionable, but it would take a miracle for him to play this week. Fellow rookie and starting wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins is also listed as questionable with a shoulder injury he sustained against the Falcons.
In response to the injuries, the Patriots brought in veteran wideout Austin Collie to provide Tom Brady with some warm bodies to get the ball to.
Danny Amendola had been nursing a groin injury for the past few weeks and could make a much-needed appearance against the Bengals. He has seen limited practice this week and is officially listed as questionable.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski is another favorite target of Tom Brady who has been missing in action. He’s currently listed as questionable as well and is less likely than Amendola to play this week.
In addition, the defensive side of the ball is banged up. Starting nose guard Vince Wilfork has been placed on injured reserve this week after tearing his Achilles in the Atlanta game.
With all the injuries mounting for the Patriots, it should be interesting to see how they respond on the road against a talented Bengals team who have made the playoffs two years in a row.
It might be wise to get your program out for this one, as there are sure to be several moments throughout where you have no idea who a particular player is.