Jeremy Hill’s debut for the Patriots was derailed by a knee injury

Hill collided with a fellow member of the New England backfield as both players were forced to play defense.

Jeremy Hill
Patriots running back Jeremy Hill injured his leg during the third quarter of the home opener at Gillette Stadium. –Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Patriots running back Jeremy Hill left the season opener against the Houston Texans with a knee injury in the third quarter.

The 25-year-old, who signed a one-year deal with the team in March, collided with a fellow member of the New England backfield as both players were forced to play defense. After Tyrann Mathieu corralled a Rob Gronkowski fumble, Hill scrambled to try and tackle the Texans safety. So did Patriots fullback James Develin, who dove into Hill’s right knee.

Although Hill made his way to the locker room under his own power, the team immediately ruled him out for the remainder of the game. The injury left Rex Burkhead and James White alone on the running back depth chart. Sony Michel, the 26th pick in this year’s draft, was inactive for the Houston matchup with a knee injury of his own.

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Hill spent the preseason locked in a position battle with Mike Gillislee. Gillislee landed in New Orleans after Bill Belichick decided their wasn’t room for both on the 53-man roster. If Hill’s injury is as serious as it initially appeared, the Patriots will hope Michel’s return from injury comes sooner than later and could promote rookie Ralph Webb — who flashed for three touchdowns in the exhibition games — from the practice squad.