Tight end Ben Watson won’t be the only one missing Sunday’s Week 5 game against the winless Redskins, as the Patriots have officially ruled out running back Rex Burkhead, safety Patrick Chung, and special teamer Nate Ebner.
Limited all week with a foot injury and hit with the questionable tag on Friday’s practice report, the 29-year-old Burkhead had just one catch for seven yards in New England’s 16-10 win over the Bills in Week 4, but had a season-high 47 yards on the ground in the team’s Week 3 win over the Jets.
Burkhead’s absence means that the Patriots will enter Washington with Sony Michel and James White as the team’s one-two out of the backfield, and with Brandon Bolden and rookie Damien Harris as options as the team’s No. 3. Burkhead has 112 yards and a touchdown via the rushing game, as well as 15 catches for 123 yards through the air in four games this season.
And like Burkhead, Chung was a limited participant in practice this past week due to an apparent heel injury, and will Sunday’s game as a result. Chung has 13 tackles in four games for the Patriots’ league-best defense.
Ebner, meanwhile, will miss this contest due to a groin injury.
With the Patriots having a short week by way of a Week 6 Thursday Night Football game against the Giants, it’s not hard to imagine the Patriots simply playing it safe and giving some of their bruised players an extra couple of days to get right.