The Patriots will be shorthanded due to injuries yet again Sunday against the Broncos, as four starters didn't make the trip to Denver.
Safety Patrick Chung (foot), linebacker Brandon Spikes (knee), right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (foot, back), wide receiver Deion Branch (groin) and running back Shane Vereen (hamstring) were ruled out Saturday, which means they didn't travel with the team.
The Patriots also promoted safety Ross Ventrone from the practice squad to fill the 53rd roster spot after Malcolm Williams was released Thursday. Ventrone has been involved in 25 transactions with the Patriots since originally signing with them as an undrafted free agent in April 2010.
Center Dan Connolly, who has missed the last three games with a groin injury, traveled to Denver, so he could potentially return to the lineup. The Patriots have started Nick McDonald (twice) and Ryan Wendell in Connolly's absence.
Branch, who injured his groin late against the Redskins, will miss his first game of the season, which could potentially thrust Chad Ochocinco into a bigger role.
Chung and Spikes will each miss their sixth consecutive game and their seventh overall game this season. Vollmer is out for the third consecutive game and the eighth time this season. Vereen is out for the third straight week and the seventh game of the season.
Without Chung, the Patriots have James Ihedigbo, Nate Jones, Ventrone, Matthew Slater and Sergio Brown on the depth chart at safety.
Dane Fletcher and Tracy White rotated at linebacker last week alongside Jerod Mayo.
The Patriots will announce two more inactive players about an hour and a half before kickoff Sunday afternoon.
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