BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots released their first practice/injury report of the 2021 season on Wednesday. Surprisingly, rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson was not on that report.

It’s surprising because Stevenson reportedly suffered a dislocated thumb in practice last week, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic. While it’s never ideal for a running back to be dealing with any sort of hand or finger injury, there is “some optimism” that he should be good to go for Sunday’s opener against the Miami Dolphins, according to Howe.

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Stevenson’s absence on the injury report adds to that “optimism.”

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A fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, Stevenson was electric for the Patriots during the preseason. The big-bodied back racked up several missed tackles, touchdowns and yards during New England’s exhibition slate, rushing for a league-best 217 yards and five touchdowns over three games.

Though Bill Belichick usually gives his running backs a redshirt year, that will not be the case for Stevenson. The rookie figures to play a big role in a talented Patriots ground attack that also features starter Damien Harris, third-down back James White and J.J. Taylor.

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Tune in to Patriots-Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 12 on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots! Coverage begins Wednesday night with Patriots 1st Down at 10:30 p.m. on TV38 and continues Friday night with Patriots All Access at 7 p.m. on WBZ! Our opening day coverage begins with Patriots GameDay at 11:30 a.m., the Patriots and the Dolphins kick off at 4:25 p.m., and after the game switch over to TV38 for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!

CBSBoston.com Staff