FOXBORO — All year, the Patriots have played the long game with their health.
From conducting a less physical training camp to running fewer padded practices midseason and employing mid-game rotations at key positions, the Pats have kept the final stretch in mind.
Now, with a playoff berth at stake over their last three games, that stretch is here. And they will be down at least three starters Saturday.
The Pats ruled out wide receiver DeVante Parker, cornerback Jalen Mills and long snapper Joe Cardona after their final practice Thursday. None practiced this week, all hampered by injuries they sustained prior to last Sunday’s loss at Las Vegas. Cardona will reportedly miss the rest of the season with a torn tendon in his foot, and Saturday will mark the first missed game of his career since he was drafted in 2015.
The Patriots are expected to elevate long snapper Tucker Addington from their practice squad Friday. Addington, who last played in the USFL and spent time on the practice squad as a rookie, signed last week.
Parker continues to recover from the concussion he sustained at Arizona on Dec. 12, while Mills missed his second full week of practice with a re-aggravated groin injury. Cornerbacks Jonathan Jones (chest) and Jack Jones (knee) were limited all week, as were running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson and wide receivers Jakobi Meyers and Tyquan Thornton. Of those six, only Thornton and Jonathan Jones were new additions to the injury report this week.
The Pats’ only healthy cornerbacks are rookie Marcus Jones and Shaun Wade, while Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor are the team’s only healthy wide receivers.
In Cincinnati, defensive end Sam Hubbard was ruled out, and fellow pass rusher Trey Hendrickson was cleared to play despite a recently broken wrist. Tight end Hayden Hurst (calf) and cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (shoulder) were among four questionable for the Bengals.
Both teams’ injury reports are below.
CB Jalen Mills (groin)
WR DeVante Parker (concussion)
LS Joe Cardona (ankle)
CB Jonathan Jones (chest)
WR Tyquan Thornton (knee)
RB Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle)
RB Damien Harris (thigh)
CB Jack Jones (knee)
WR Jakobi Meyers (shoulder)
DE Sam Hubbard (calf)
CB Jalen Davis (thumb)
TE Hayden Hurst (calf)
DT Jay Tufele (illness)
CB Cam Taylor-Britt (shoulder)
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