MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Rob Ninkovich eventually made it down to Miami, though he traveled later than the rest of his New England Patriots teammates.
There was some confusion when Ninkovich was listed on the Patriots’ injury report Friday as questionable with a shin issue, though CSNNE’s Mike Giardi reported the defensive end was still in Foxboro, Mass., after having not traveled with the rest of his teammates Thursday. Ninkovich traveled to Miami later, a source told NESN.com on Saturday.
The Patriots typically leave for road games Saturday, but the NHL Winter Classic, held at Gillette Stadium this year, forced the team to leave early and practice at Florida Atlantic University on Friday.
There’s a good chance Ninkovich plays Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, since the Patriots went through the trouble of having him fly down to Florida separately. Ninkovich had stayed back in New England for further treatment. He suffered the shin injury in the Patriots’ Week 16 loss to the New York Jets, though he reentered the game. Ninkovich has played 112 consecutive games, including playoffs. He hasn’t missed a game since 2009.
Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga likely will be the team’s seventh inactive Sunday. He left Miami to tend to a family emergency, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Saturday.
The Patriots ruled out wide receiver Julian Edelman, linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jonathan Freeny, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, cornerback Justin Coleman and defensive end Chandler Jones on Friday. They can deactivate more than seven players if needed.
The Patriots must beat the Dolphins to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. If they fail to beat the Dolphins, they would need the Denver Broncos to lose to the San Diego Chargers to still have home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Dec 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich (50) during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports