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Game Day Roster Update: Hightower to miss Dolphins game

Analyzing the last-minute roster shuffling the Patriots have done in advance of their 2021 Week 18 game with the Miami Dolphins.

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (54).
Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (54).

A lingering knee injury is going to keep linebacker Dont'a Hightower out of the regular season finale against the Dolphins Sunday. Late Saturday, the Patriots declared an originally questionable Hightower out for the meeting in Miami.

It's been clear that the playmaking linebacker hasn't been quite his usual self on the field of late. The Friday before the Jaguars game, for instance, he didn't practice at all because of the injury and subsequently only appeared for 14 snaps in the win over Jacksonville.

He did manage a sack on the second play of the game last weekend, but thereafter, his time on the field was reduced significantly. All this week in practice, he was limited as well, as has been the case most of the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, with safety Kyle Dugger ruled out for this game on Friday, it's no surprise that New England promoted a similar kind of player, Sean Davis, from the practice squad. Dugger apparently suffered a hand injury during last week's win over the Jags and didn't practice all week as a result. For Davis, this will likely mark his second appearance in a game as a Patriot (he was active in the Monday night win over Buffalo a few weeks back).

Also, it seems Kristian Wilkerson's run of practice squad promotions is over for the time being. He was a star in the victory last weekend, but with regular contributor Nelson Agholor having been cleared from concussion protocol this week, Wilkerson's services apparently won't be needed. He was promoted both weeks that Agholor had to sit out.

As always, more moves must be made before kickoff Sunday for the Patriots to reduce their game-day roster down to 48 active players. We'll dissect whatever those are once we hear about them around 90 minutes before the start of the game. Stay tuned for further analysis on Sunday.

NOTE: DB Shaun Wade was added to the injury report with an illness early Sunday morning. He will be inactive for the game.

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