Hopefully Healthy – New England Patriots set to assess the health of Damien Harris and Adrian Phillips in Tuesday practice

With the image of their week off starting to shrink in hindsight, the New England Patriots are starting to prepare for their Week 15 game with the Indianapolis Colts.

The 9-4 Patriots enter this Saturday night showdown as the AFC favorite and the AFC East Division leader. Knowing that the Pats are in first place in the Conference by tiebreaker (over the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, wins are key to keeping pace with the rest of the contenders for a coveted first-round pass. playoffs.

As the team returns to the training ground on Tuesday, many eyes in the Patriots fandom will be focused on the health and participation of running back Damien Harris and safety Adrian Phillips.

Harris (hamstring) and Phillips (knee) both left New England’s Week 13 game with the Buffalo Bills and did not return to action for the game’s conclusion. As a result, their availability for Saturday’s game in Indianapolis is the subject of some speculation.

Shoot for Phillips

Just before the Pats’ last defensive game of the evening, Phillips injured his knee. Patriots medical staff performed a preliminary ACL test on his right knee. However, no diagnosis was provided after the match or in the days following. The only update was cryptic in nature, provided by Phillips himself through his Twitter account,

In the absence of safety back Kyle Dugger (COVID-19 / Reserve), Phillips raised his game to a level that allowed him to make Buffalo’s top tight end Dawson Knox a non-factor on Monday night. Phillips removed Knox’s ability to use midfield, limiting him to just two catches for 14 yards. Phillips was credited with two pass breakouts on Knox, each of which significantly changed momentum in the Patriots’ favor.

Hope for Harris

Despite leaving Monday’s game with a hamstring injury, Harris was a key part of the success of the Pats’ running game. The Alabama product covered 111 yards on just 10 carries and an impressive 64-yard touchdown run, demonstrating his ability to run for both power and finesse. As a result, he should be a potent weapon for the Patriots running game down the stretch as they head into the playoffs. Like Phillips, no official diagnosis has been provided on Harris’ injury. However, he was seen with the rest of the running back group in the interview room after the game, indicating his injury was likely not serious.

What the coaches say

In his Monday morning videoconference, Bill Belichick provided little update on Phillips or Harris’s condition. However, he appeared to indicate that the team will assess their progress once they return to training. Asked if injuries could threaten their availability for matches, Belichick said: “We haven’t done anything since [last Monday vs. Bills], so we’ll see how things work out once we’re there. “

Also on Monday, Patriots running back coach Ivan Fears provided some additional information on Harris’s status, indicating that the Pats main defenseman was doing everything possible to get back on the pitch as soon as possible. “If there’s a way to find a way to get on the pitch and play, that’s what he’s going to do,” Fears said. “He’s been working hard. He’s been here all weekend, taking full advantage of the week off to get himself as much as possible ready for training and we’ll give him as much time as possible to see if he is. can do it. All I know is this boy works hard. I saw him here on Saturday. I saw him here on Friday. “

While no further comment has been made regarding his knee injury, Phillips is among the Patriots players scheduled to meet with the media on Tuesday, implying his injury is unlikely to keep him on the sidelines for a while. A long period.

New England will release their first injury report of the week on Tuesday, as they prepare for an 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff with the Colts from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.