Patriots rule out starting LB vs. Dolphins


Make that two starting defenders the New England Patriots will be without in their regular season finale against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

In addition to safety Kyle Dugger, the team announced Saturday that linebacker Dont'a Hightower will miss the game at Hard Rock Stadium.

Hightower was one of nine New England players listed as questionable for the game, due to a knee ailment. He'd been a limited participant at practice throughout the week.

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After opting out of the 2020 season amid concerns over COVID-19, Hightower has returned to start 15 games for New England this season, matching his career high. He's been credited with 1.5 sacks and 64 combined tackles upon his return.

The two-time Pro Bowler played a season-low 14 defensive snaps against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week in a 50-10 blowout win for the Patriots. 

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