The Patriots may be without their Pro Bowl linebacker when they take on the Bengals at Gillette Stadium.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Jamie Collins is not expected to play Sunday. Collins showed up on the Patriots injury report with a hip issue on Thursday and he was limited in both Thursday and Friday's practices.
Collins has played in all five regular-season games for the Patriots thus far, recording two interceptions, a forced fumble and a sack. In his career, he has missed five games -- four of which came when he was suffering from an illness last season.
The Patriots were without linebacker Dont'a Hightower for Weeks 2 and 3 after he injured his knee in New England's Week 1 win over Arizona. He was listed on the injury report and limited in practices before Weeks 4 and 5 but was removed from the injury report this week, indicating he's ready for a full workload. He played in just 29 snaps against the Browns last week.
The Patriots placed linebacker Jonathan Freeny on injured reserve Saturday, leaving rookie sixth-round pick Elandon Roberts and veteran Shea McClellin as the players who could potentially see more time if Collins is out. The team could also turn to Rob Ninkovich and use him in more of a linebacker role, or it could deploy Barkevious Mingo, who has been used primarily as a special teamer this season (12 defensive snaps).
Against the Browns, Roberts made a team-high seven solo tackles and earned some praise from coach Bill Belichick, who noted that the 6-foot, 235-pound Roberts plays with very good physicality.