FOXBORO -- The Patriots need to clear one more roster spot in order to make room for both Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich to return to the field this weekend. Might that roster spot be freed up due to an injury to rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
MAN. MYTH. BRADY.: Curran: Tracing the myth of Tom Brady has a mythical feel | Tom Brady's 'hero's journey
It's certainly an option, and ESPN's Field Yates reported on Friday afternoon that the Patriots have not ruled it out. Brissett suffered a thumb injury against the Texans in Week 3, yet he practiced all week last week leading up to Sunday's loss to the Bills. Against Buffalo, Brissett completed 17-of-27 pass attempts for 205 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He also fumbled the football in Bills territory after taking a hard shot from Bills linebacker Zach Brown -- one of several big hits Brissett absorbed during the game.
Brissett had thumb surgery on Friday, according to the Boston Globe, though it's unclear how much time he will be forced to miss.
Brissett was limited in Wednesday and Thursday's practices with a right thumb injury, and he was not present for the start of Friday's practice. On Wednesday, during the media-availability period of practice in which both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo threw warm-up passes, Brissett did not make any attempts.
The Patriots currently have 52 players on their active roster -- they released tight end Clay Harbor earlier this week -- and they will need to make one more roster move in order to clear enough space for both Brady and defensive end Rob Ninkovich to play this weekend against the Browns. Both players are coming off of four-game suspensions and have been given roster exemptions, but in order to play they will need to come off of the exempt list and count toward the team's 53-man roster.
If his injury is serious enough, placing Brissett on injured reserve would free up a roster spot, and it would not necessarily end his season. Team's are allowed to designated one player to return off of injured reserve, but they no longer have to designate the player to return as soon as he is placed on IR. Teams can now monitor a player's progress as he recovers and then choose whether or not they would like to designate him as their player to return, activating him after eight weeks.