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Illness puts Collins' status again in doubt

Looks like Jamie Collins will miss his third straight game.

Two weeks ago today, the Patriots linebacker contracted some sort of illness – it's unclear exactly what kind – and New England made him a late addition to the injury report for that week's game against Washington. He wound up missing that game and the following week's contest at the New York Giants.

Collins has not practiced since Nov. 6, including all four sessions this week, which virtually ensures that he'll miss Monday's night's home tilt against AFC East rival Buffalo. New England will release its final injury report of the week, which includes game status updates for each listed player, late Saturday afternoon.

According to an NFL Network report this week, the third-year linebacker has overcome the virus that has been plaguing him, but that the team has kept him off the field while he continues to regain the weight and strength he lost over the past fortnight. 

Up to that point two weeks ago, Collins had been on pace for a Pro Bowl-caliber season (which is still possible, of course), and although the Patriots remain undefeated, his absence in the starting defensive lineup and big-play ability have been sorely missed.

Collins is now the third Patriot who has missed significant time this season due to an unspecified illness. Co-captain Ryan Wendell missed training camp, the preseason, and much of the first half of the regular season due to illness. He was eventually placed on season-ending IR after sustaining a knee injury in Week 9. Seldom-used veteran linebacker Rufus Johnson also wound up on IR in late October due to an illness.

It has also been reported by various media that Collins has been asked to stay away from the team facility while he deals with his ailment so that he wouldn't affect others. Players who normally are not at the facility have their folding chairs at their lockers stowed away until they return. 

Since originally being listed on the injury report, Collins' chair has been folded up in his locker. In an amusing twist Saturday, there were two chairs seen at Collins' locker: the one folded up and another opened up directly in front of it. 

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