Sources: Pats likely without Burkhead, Gillislee
New England Patriots running backs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee, who are both listed as questionable with knee injuries, are not expected to play in Saturday’s divisional-round playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Patriots did some good news concerning their backfield, however, as James White, the team’s top “passing back” who missed the past two games with an ankle injury, is expected to play against the Titans, a source told Schefter.
Burkhead, who practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday, initially hurt his knee in a Dec. 17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and hasn’t played since. Without his dual-threat ability as a rusher and pass-catcher, the Patriots’ offense sputtered at times in December.
The 27-year-old, who rushed for 264 yards and five touchdowns this season, told reporters Thursday that he was “excited” about the prospect of returning against the Titans.
“After the [knee] injury, you never know what is going to happen,” Burkhead told reporters. “So that’s always in the back of your head. But when you get good news, it helps you to look forward to these games a little better.”
Gillislee practiced in a limited fashion Thursday for the first time since he was injured in Week 16 against the Bills. Prior to that game, he had missed six games — five as a healthy scratch and one because of illness.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss contributed to this report.