Amendola (knee) will not play Sunday against the Broncos, Tom Curran of CSN Northeast reports.
As of Friday night, there was still a chance Amendola would make the trip to Denver with the team, but after being evaluated Saturday, the receiver has been ruled out and will remain back in Foxboro. Amendola suffered the knee injury against the Bills on Monday, and he was limited in practice Thursday and Friday after not participating on Wednesday. With Julian Edelman (foot) out and Aaron Dobson, Brian Tyms, Josh Boyce and Brandon Gibson all on IR, the Pats are currently left with only three healthy receivers heading into Sunday: Brandon LaFell, Chris Harper and KeShawn Martin. All three figure to see expanded roles, with tight end Rob Gronkowski likely seeing even more attention than usual from the Denver defense.
Three injured players have been placed on the inactive list by the Patriots for their season opener Thursday night against Pittsburgh. They are running back Travaris Cadet (hamstring), defensive lineman Trey Flowers (knee) and safety Tavon Wilson (quad).
Edelman underwent foot surgery Monday on the Jones fracture he suffered Sunday against the Giants, and he could return in 6-to-8 weeks, according to Albert Breer of NFL Network.
Breer notes that the recovery timeframe is a rough one, so while it could theoretically allow Edelman to return during the postseason, it's certainly no guarantee. Danny Amendola is expected to get an increase in offensive snaps with Edelman sidelined, while Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson and Rob Gronkowski could all see more targets as well.
Gronkowski (knee), who is not expected to play Sunday against the Eagles, is considered week-to-week by ESPN.com.
Whether Gronkowski is dealing with a bruised knee, a knee strain, or both, the report suggests that how quickly the tight end returns to the field "will be a pain tolerance issue." While ESPN's Adam Schefter hints at a potential multiple-week absence here, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport indicates that at most, Gronkowski will miss a week. In any case, while the Patriots may not confirm the tight end's Week 13 status until Friday's final injury report is released, it's probably wise for fantasy owners to operate under the assumption that Gronkowski will not be a lineup option this weekend, at a minimum.
Hightower is confirmed to have suffered a sprained MCL during Sunday night's loss to the Broncos, The Boston Globe reports.
Hightower's injury adds to the Patriots' growing list of absentees, but fortunately his sprained knee isn't expected to keep him sidelined for long. While a more definitive timetable for Hightower's return should surface soon, New England may be without their defensive signal-caller Sunday against the Eagles.