FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots’ Wednesday practices typically are their longest and most physical each week. But not this week.

Ahead of New England’s Week 17 matchup with the Buffalo Bills, head coach Bill Belichick moved Wednesday’s practice inside the team’s field house and shortened it considerably.

Asked why, Belichick initially said he “thought it was the best thing to do” before acknowledging that the Patriots’ current health situation was “definitely a factor.”

No Matchup Found

Click here to enter a different Sportradar ID.

Story continues below advertisement

Injuries have piled up for this Patriots team as the 2023 regular season draws to a close.

In addition to the slew of key contributors on injured reserve — a list that includes Matthew Judon, Christian Gonzalez, Kendrick Bourne, Cole Strange, Marcus Jones, Conor McDermott and others — New England was without tight end Hunter Henry, running back Rhamondre Stevenson, safety Jabrill Peppers, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and special teams ace Matthew Slater for Sunday night’s road win over the Denver Broncos.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

Several other players were treated for injuries during that game, including linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley and defensive backs Jonathan Jones, Shaun Wade and Jalen Mills. Top left tackle Trent Brown remained limited by multiple ailments, coming off the bench and seeing fewer snaps (21) than fill-in starter Vederian Lowe (37).

That rash of injuries prompted at least one roster move early this week, with the Patriots signing tight end La’Michael Pettway to their practice squad Tuesday.

Story continues below advertisement

“Hunter hasn’t practiced, didn’t practice last week,” Belichick said. “We’ll see what his availability is. (Tight ends) Mike (Gesicki) and Pharaoh (Brown) are playing a lot of football.”

The Patriots are scheduled to practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before traveling to Buffalo for their New Year’s Eve matchup with the AFC East rival Bills. They’ll then host the New York Jets next weekend in their season finale.

Featured image via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images