New England Patriots

Report: Patriots get discouraging update on Stevenson's ankle injury

It might make sense to shut the star running back down for the season.

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Another week, another impactful skill player lost for the New England Patriots.

Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson is expected to miss "a few weeks" after suffering a high ankle sprain in Sunday's 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday morning.

Stevenson suffered the injury in the first quarter after Chargers rookie linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu took him down with a hip-drop tackle. While initial X-rays on Stevenson's ankle reportedly were negative, it appears further tests revealed a high ankle sprain.

Considering the Patriots have just five games remaining and are an AFC-worst 2-10, it's worth wondering whether Stevenson will play again this season. He's arguably their best offensive skill player and is under contract through 2024, so there might be some merit to keeping him sidelined and ensuring he doesn't re-injure the ankle.

Stevenson's injury is another blow to a New England team enduring its worst season in three decades. Top wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, Pro Bowl pass rusher Matthew Judon and first-round rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez are among several talented players lost to season-ending injuries, and if Demario Douglas (concussion) doesn't return to action in Week 14, the Patriots will be without their three best skill players Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That's a recipe for disaster for a Patriots offense averaging an NFL-worst 12.3 points per game -- especially against a Steelers defense allowing just 19.1 points per contest, sixth in the NFL.

With Stevenson out, expect Ezekiel Elliott and potentially recently-signed running back JaMycal Hasty to get more work at running back.

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