BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are already dealing with one sudden, major absence with the loss of Dont’a Hightower. But they will be shorthanded on the defensive line as well.
The Pats will be without Malcom Brown against the Chargers on Sunday at Gillette Stadium as he battles an ankle injury. The defensive tackle was absent for all three days of practice from Wednesday-Friday along with cornerback Eric Rowe (groin), who is also listed as out.
Brown has emerged as one of the Patriots’ best defensive linemen through the first seven games of the season. He has also defended the run as well as anyone and helped spur the defense’s recent turnaround against the Bucs, Jets, and Falcons. In Week 6, Jets running backs rushed three times for just two yards against him and he also recorded a sack against Josh McCown.
The absence of the 2015 first-round pick will open up opportunities for veterans Alan Branch and Lawrence Guy. Branch has struggled to earn snaps in 2017, playing just 23 in each of the last two games. Guy, meanwhile, played just 26 snaps against the Falcons after playing 41 in the previous two games.
Rookie Adam Butler could also be in line for an increased role in their defensive front. He played 28 snaps against the Falcons after playing no more than 18 in each of the previous three games, logging his first career sack.
Elsewhere on the Patriots injury front, wide receiver Danny Amendola (knee) is listed as “Questionable” for Sunday, but told reporters he’s “good to go.”
Here is the full Patriots injury report:
OUT: Malcom Brown (ankle), Eric Rowe (groin), Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: Danny Amendola (knee), Stephon Gilmore (concussion/ankle), Lawrence Guy (chest), Cassius Marsh (shoulder), Elandon Roberts (ankle), Marcus Cannon (ankle)