MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Chris Hogan made his way to South Florida with the Patriots on Sunday. And not to watch.
Tom Brady and the Patriots offense have gone without Hogan since he injured his shoulder late in a Week 8 win over the Chargers. It's unclear how much he'll play, but after four practices this week in Foxboro, he's going to give it a go Monday night against the Dolphins.
Earlier in the week, we went into some detail on how Hogan could help the Patriots offense if he's able to go. With Rob Gronkowski suspended, Hogan could serve as a valuable red-zone target.
Hogan's return could also have an impact on the workload issued to his teammates. Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola's snap-counts have been relatively unchanged with Hogan out, but Phillip Dorsett has taken on the No. 2 receiver role in terms of play-count since Week 8. In four games since Hogan's injury, Dorsett has averaged 42 snaps per game.
Here's a quick look at how the Patriots may be impacted by some of the injuries they're dealing with . . .
Marcus Cannon, Kyle Van Noy, Trey Flowers ruled out: Cannon's ankle injury will hold him out yet another week, leaving the right-tackle duties to LaAdrian Waddle (more on him later) or Cam Fleming. Van Noy's absence could be a difficult one for the Patriots. He has handled the hybrid end-slash-linebacker duties once held by Dont'a Hightower, and he's emerged as a leader of the New England front-seven. Without him, the Patriots become thinner at both the edge and the second-level. Players like Eric Lee (57 snaps against the Bills last weekend), Elandon Roberts (49), David Harris (25) and Marquis Flowers (35) can all expect a busy day with Van Noy unavailable. Trey Flowers will miss his second consecutive game with a ribs injury. Special-teamer Brandon King (hamstring) has also been ruled out.
Issues on the edge: Injuries to Van Noy and Flowers aren't the only issues the Patriots have on the edge. Deatrich Wise (foot) came into the weekend listed as questionable. He only managed to get onto the field for one practice this week. The Patriots have been perilously thin at defensive end all season -- the Derek Rivers injury, Rob Ninkovich retirement and Kony Ealy release had something to do with that -- and are facing a situation where they may have to go deep into their bench just to man the position. If Wise is at all limited, Bill Belichick could be forced to turn to Lee and Geneo Grissom -- both of whom were practice-squad players just a few weeks ago. Rookie defensive tackle Adam Butler could also potentially bump outside; the Patriots worked him there throughout training camp.
Waddle improving, still questionable: Waddle worked out prior to the Bills game but was deemed unable to go. His ankle injury has improved steadily since then, however. While it's not certain he'll play, he'll have a better shot at getting back onto the field than he did a week ago. Waddle was injured in the fourth quarter of his team's win over the Dolphins in Week 12. Whoever is playing right tackle for the Patriots, whether it's Waddle or Fleming, will have his hands full. Dolphins pass-rusher Cameron Wake typically lines up on that side.
Something going around the running backs room: Mike Gillislee (illness) was ruled out on Sunday night. He missed Saturday's practice with an illness one day after Dion Lewis missed a practice due to illness. Lewis practiced on Saturday and is expected to be ready for Monday night. Gillislee has been a healthy game-day scratch since the Week 9 bye.