FOXBORO, Mass. — You might as well cross Dont’a Hightower, Danny Amendola and Matthew Slater off the New England Patriots’ roster for Sunday.
Hightower (knee), Amendola (concussion/knee) and Slater (hamstring) all missed practice for the third consecutive day Friday, meaning they almost certainly will not play against the New Orleans Saints.
Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (knee) also was absent after returning to practice Thursday.
Slater and Valentine both missed last Thursday’s season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and Hightower and Amendola both left that game with injuries.
Hightower’s absence complicates the Patriots’ front seven alignment. It’s possible Harvey Langi could slide into his spot on the edge, as the rookie linebacker played there throughout the preseason.
With Amendola out, the Patriots could promote wide receiver Demarcus Ayers from the practice squad, as they currently have just three healthy wideouts on their 53-man roster. Ayers also has the ability to return punts — an area of need for the Patriots with Amendola, Julian Edelman and Cyrus Jones all sidelined.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images