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Inactive Analysis: Hightower back in the lineup

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A shoulder injury kept linebacker Dont'a Hightower out of last week's win over the Jets, but despite dealing with an ankle injury that limited him this past week in practice, Hightower will suit up today in L.A. versus the Chargers.

Tight end Jonnu Smith is also going to be available to play today. He started off strong against the Jets last week, but couldn't finish that game due to a shoulder problem, which also limited his practice time the past several days.

New England listed 15 players on the injury report this week, but only two of them won't play: special teamer Brandon King (thigh) and rookie cornerback Shaun Wade (concussion). The remaining four inactive Patriots are healthy scratches who've not had much of a role on game days this season, if at all: tight end Devin Asiasi, guard Yasir Durant, running back J.J. Taylor, and rookie edge rusher Ronnie Perkins.

Taylor's shelving this week means rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson , who sat out last week's game, will likely get a chance to spell Damien Harris at times this afternoon.

Los Angeles, meantime, had only one significant injury scare this week. But running back Austin Ekeler is expected to play for the Chargers today despite not practicing Thursday or Friday because of a hip ailment. How effective he'll be with this new health concern remains to be seen, however.

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