ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – While WR Julian Edelman (chest) conducted his normal pregame, one-handed catching warm-up routine, nearby, LB Dont'a Hightower (right shoulder) was put through an on-field medical evaluation a couple of hours prior to kickoff.
Apparently, Hightower isn't sufficiently healed from the injury he suffered a week ago against the New York Jets. He was limited all week during practice sessions and will be among the seven inactive Patriots for today's contest versus Buffalo.
Though not an ideal situation to be without a defensive leader like Hightower, the Patriots have some solid depth at the linebacker position. We could therefore potentially see more action from Ja'Whaun Bentley and/or Elandon Roberts today as a result.
Meanwhile, Edelman also sustained an injury in last week's win over New York which limited his practice activity this past week, but his chest issue (which has been reported by some media observers as a rib problem) appears to be one with which he'll at least attempt to play today. It'll be interesting to see if the injury will impact him and how long he'll be able to play throughout today's game.
The remaining Patriots are healthy scratches (not listed on the injury report), most of whom have been frequent members of this list so far this season: O-linemen Korey Cunningham and Caleb Benenoch, newly-signed QB Cody Kessler, rookie CB Joejuan Williams, RB Damien Harris, rookie DL Byron Cowart.
Buffalo's offense will be without starting tight end Tyler Kroft, who was ruled out Friday after not having practiced all week with an ankle problem, as well as WR Robert Foster, a speedster whose skills were noted by head coach Bill Belichick this past week. Foster came down with a groin injury during Thursday's practice and was limited thereafter.
The Bills will be without a key defender as well. Nickel corner Taron Johnson's hamstring issue limited his practice participation all week.