FOXBORO -- The Patriots now have the requisite amount of space on their active roster for both Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich play in this weekend's game against the Browns.
New England placed rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett on injured reserve, freeing up one roster spot, and leaving the Patriots with a total of 51 players on their active roster. The news was first reported by ESPN.
Brady and Ninkovich, both coming off of four-game suspensions to start the season, spent the week on the exempt list and did not take up slots on the active roster. With Brissett headed to IR -- and with the release of tight end Clay Harbor earlier this week -- the team can now activate both Brady and Ninkovich, making them eligible to take on Cleveland.
Brissett suffered a thumb injury against the Texans in Week 3, yet he practiced all of 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.
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.
That Brissett has been placed on injured reserve has not necessarily ended his season. Teams are allowed to designate 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.