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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered and Patriots Playbook Fri Dec 03 - 10:00 PM | Mon Dec 06 - 05:55 PM

Inactive Analysis: With Harry out, Wilkerson gets a chance 

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A pair of Patriots suffered injuries during Friday's practice, but only one of them will be held out of today's game in Charlotte.

Wide receiver N'Keal Harry developed a knee problem that will prevent him from appearing in uniform today, prompting the Patriots to promote Kristian Wilkerson from the practice squad. The latter had a strong start to training camp this summer before eventually landing on New England's practice squad, where he spent most of the 2020 season. Wilkerson is now active for the Panthers game, but it remains to be seen just how much he'll be involved in the game plan.

The five other inactive Patriots today are little surprise, as they are often on this list and all are healthy scratches (not listed on the injury report): tight end Devin Asiasi, guard Yasir Durant, running back J.J. Taylor, rookie cornerback Shaun Wade, and rookie edge rusher Ronnie Perkins.

Meanwhile, punter Jake Bailey will give it a go, despite incurring an injury to his right (kicking) knee on Friday. Bailey, of course, not only punts for the Patriots, but also serves as the club's kickoff specialist and holds for Nick Folk's placekicks. Bailey is also Folk's backup for field goals and extra points, and Folk has been kicking through a left (plant leg) knee issue for the past several weeks. Bailey's condition will be worth monitoring throughout today's game.

Special teamer Brandon King also returns to game action after sitting out last week's win in L.A. due to a thigh injury.

From a Carolina perspective, two names loom largest over the Panthers' active roster this week. Perhaps their best player overall, running back Christian McCaffrey, officially returned from injured reserve on Saturday after missing the better part of this regular season with a hamstring problem. A threat both on the ground and in the passing game, McCaffrey will be in the Panthers lineup today for the first time since Week 3. Carolina's head coach suggested this week that McCaffrey's touches will be limited today versus New England in his first action back from IR.

Meanwhile, Carolina just cleared quarterback Sam Darnold from concussion protocol late this week, but he continues to nurse a right (throwing) shoulder injury that limited him in recent workouts. However, indications are that Darnold will start for the Panthers, with backup P.J. Walker ready to go in at a moment's notice if necessary.

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