Patriots-Saints: Which Injury-List Players Will Play on Sunday?

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Patriots-Saints: Which Injury-List Players Will Play on Sunday?
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Patriots RB Stevan Ridley is likely to play this week.

 

UPDATE (Sunday 3:00 ET): The Patriots have released their list of inactives:


The only player on this list I didn't name was WR Josh Boyce; the Patriots are giving the nod to recently-signed veteran WR Austin Collie instead.

On Friday, the New England Patriots released their last injury report before their Week 6 matchup against the New Orleans Saints (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox).

Healthwise, things seem to be moving in the right direction, with just 13 players listed, down from 14 last week (and down from 16 on Thursday). (As a Patriots fan, I have to say it's nice that I only need two tables this week—one for offense and one for defense.)

The Patriots are currently at 53 players, so they will need to deactivate seven players. Let's take a look at the likely candidates.

 

Offense
Player Thursday Friday Designation
WR Danny Amendola (groin) Limited Limited Questionable
RB Brandon Bolden (knee) Limited Limited Questionable
WR Aaron Dobson (neck) Limited Full Probable
TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm) Limited Limited Questionable
RB Stevan Ridley (knee) Limited Limited Questionable
ST Matthew Slater (wrist) Limited Limited Questionable
RB Leon Washington (ankle) Did not practice Did not practice OUT
C Ryan Wendell (concussion) Limited Limited Questionable

Patriots.com

The good news on offense is that there's only one new name on the list, center Ryan Wendell. Wendell, has been listed with a concussion all week, but has not missed any practices.

The better news is that several players who were on the list last week—offensive tackles Will Svitek and Sebastian Vollmer, and wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins—are not on the list this week.

The best news is that RB Stevan Ridley, who missed last week with a knee injury, is listed as questionable against the Saints. Given another day or two to rest, there's a good chance he'll be playing this week.

The bad news is that RB Leon Washington is still unable to play; he missed all practices this week and was downgraded to out.

The worse news, of course, is that Rob Gronkowski is still only questionable. According to WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia, among other sources, the Patriots are asking orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews to act as an independent arbiter of whether Gronkowski is ready to play.

A number of sources, including ESPN.com, state that Andrews has not cleared Gronkowski, and he is not expected to play on Sunday.

 

Defense
Player Thursday Friday Designation
CB Kyle Arrington (groin) Full Not listed
S Nate Ebner (ankle) Full Not listed
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee) Limited Full Probable
DT Tommy Kelly (knee) Did not practice Did not practice OUT
LB Jerod Mayo (groin) Limited Full Probable
LB Rob Ninkovich (groin) Limited Full Probable
S Tavon Wilson (hamstring) Limited Limited Questionable

Patriots.com

Tommy Kelly's knee injury against the Atlanta Falcons sidelined him all week, leading the Patriots to sign veteran DL Andre Neblett as at least a short-term replacement, rather than promote a practice-squad player. Kelly was downgraded to out.

Other than Kelly, though, the defense is largely healthy, and several players on the injury list last week, including CB Kyle Arrington and S Nate Ebner, are off the list entirely. 

Likewise, Marquice Cole, whose injuries prompted a short-term release from the team, was not on the injury list at all this week. The only player listed as questionable (a 50-50 chance to play) is S Tavon Wilson, who was inactive last week.

 

Prediction

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

  • DT Tommy Kelly (confirmed)
  • ST Matthew Slater
  • RB Leon Washington (confirmed)
  • S Tavon Wilson
  • LB Steve Beauharnais (healthy scratch)
  • OL Chris Barker (healthy scratch)

I predict the Patriots will have Wendell active, but they will not start him, and will not play him if they can avoid doing so, instead moving OL Dan Connolly to center and Marcus Cannon to guard.

When will TE Rob Gronkowski return?

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As for the seventh inactive, right now, I give Gronkowski a bit less than a 50 percent chance to play. While, as noted above, Dr. Andrews has not cleared Gronkowski yet, that does not mean he cannot be cleared before Sunday. 

If Gronkowski is cleared, he will be active; if not, then I suspect the Patriots will activate WR Austin Collie, a healthy scratch in Week 5, in his stead.

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