FOXBORO, Mass. — Based on what we saw in the Patriots’ lone Week 14 practice, New England likely will be without its top two offensive weapons Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson and wide receiver Demario Douglas both were absent during the open media portion of Tuesday’s walkthrough outside Gillette Stadium.

Stevenson, New England’s leading rusher, suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and is expected to miss multiple games, according to multiple reports. Expect Ezekiel Elliott to take over lead back duties against Pittsburgh, with some combination of Ty Montgomery, JaMycal Hasty and practice squadder Kevin Harris backing him up.

Douglas remained in concussion protocol. The impressive rookie slot receiver has not played or practiced since suffering a head injury late in the Patriots’ Week 12 loss to the New York Giants.

Story continues below advertisement

There still is a chance Douglas could clear protocol in time for Thursday’s game, but it’s rare for a player to play after not practicing during the week. The Patriots scored just 13 total points over their last three games, and losing these two key pieces will make life even more difficult for quarterback Bailey Zappe.

No Matchup Found

Click here to enter a different Sportradar ID.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

The Patriots got a solid game out of veteran receiver DeVante Parker against LA (four catches, 64 yards), but their other wideouts struggled with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton and Jalen Reagor combining for two catches on five targets for 22 yards. Thornton did rip off a 39-yard run on an end around but had a costly drop on a deep ball from Zappe.

Rookie receiver Kayshon Boutte, who missed Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury and an illness, returned to practice Tuesday. Defensive end Deatrich Wise and cornerback Shaun Wade also were present after illnesses prevented them from playing against the Chargers.

Story continues below advertisement

The Patriots are scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Kickoff Thursday night at Acrisure Stadium is set for 8:15 p.m. ET.

Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images