Patriots

Patriots await injury updates on Damien Harris, Adrian Phillips

Neither Harris (hamstring) nor Phillips (knee) could finish the Patriots' Monday night win over the Bills.

Damien Harris Patriots
Damien Harris warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Even the best wins sometimes contain some bad news, and the Patriots’ Monday night thriller — if that’s what we want to call it — against the Buffalo Bills was no exception.

New England lost two key players, running back Damien Harris (hamstring) and safety Adrian Phillips (knee), to injuries in Monday’s 14-10 road win. Both left the game in the second half and didn’t return.

Harris appeared to tweak his leg just before halftime and jogged to the locker room as the second quarter waned. Though he came out with the team after the break, Rhamondre Stevenson started the third quarter at running back.

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Harris then ripped off a 22-yard gain on his first carry of the second half but came up limping at the end of the play. He did not return after that.

It’s worth noting, though, that the third-year running back out of Alabama spoke to the media after the game, which usually means a player isn’t too badly hurt. He’ll also have 11 days to recover and get back on the field, assuming the injury isn’t too serious. Hamstring injuries can be tricky to assess, especially for skill players like Harris.

If Harris is limited, the Patriots will be more than okay giving the ball to rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, who has been excellent this season.

Things are less clear where Phillips is concerned, however.

The veteran safety went down after making a pass breakup on Dawson Knox on third-and-long with about two minutes left in the game. But the injury appeared to take place in the aftermath of the play; Phillips originally got up and looked fine as he celebrated with teammates.

The Patriots’ defender got off the field with assistance before New England finally closed the door on Buffalo with a fourth-down stop.

The team has not yet provided a status update on Phillips, but NFL Network’s Mike Giardi noted team doctors administered the “ACL test” on the defensive back’s knee to determine if he’d sustained a tear.

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Phillips later tweeted out “THANK YOU GOD!!” on his personal page, suggesting initial diagnoses didn’t detect a season-ending ACL injury. He might still undergo further testing that could alter his outlook, but the news seems positive for now.

A lingering injury to Phillips, who’s been one of the team’s best defenders this season, would hurt the Patriots during their now-full-fledged pursuit of a playoff bye. But the defense might also get young safety Kyle Dugger back from the Reserve/COVID-19 list as they wait during the bye. Dugger did not play on Monday night.

With any luck, though, the Patriots will be back to full strength — Phillips included — when they take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 15.

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