New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead reportedly has a slight tear in his knee, which has forced him to miss the team’s first two preseason games.
While that sounds ominous, Burkhead’s injury actually is relatively minor, according to a report from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, and isn’t expected to sideline him for any regular-season contests.
The Patriots simply are being “extremely cautious” with the 28-year-old during the preseason, per Howe’s report.
Howe also reported Burkhead won’t need surgery.
Burkhead was limited in practice the day before the Patriots’ preseason opener last week and missed three consecutive practices ahead of Thursday’s 37-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Rookie running back Sony Michel also remains sidelined as he deals with a knee injury of his own.
Injuries were an issue for Burkhead last season, his first with the Patriots after four with the Cincinnati Bengals. He appeared in just 10 games, carrying the ball 64 times for 264 yards and five touchdowns while catching 30 passes for 254 yards and three scores.
Burkhead, Michel and James White are locks to make the team, leaving fellow backs Jeremy Hill, Mike Gillislee, Brandon Bolden and rookie Ralph Webb to battle for the final one or two roster spots at the position.