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Shane Vereen out at least eight weeks for Patriots

The New England Patriots entered the season without players who accounted for 89.8 percent of Tom Brady's receptions. They will have to survive the next eight weeks without a player who accounted for 37 percent of their offensive output against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1.

The Patriots announced Tuesday that running back Shane Vereen has been placed on injured reserve with a designation to return after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated bone in his left wrist.

Vereen is eligible to practice after Week 7 and play after Week 9. Because of the Patriots' Week 10 bye, the earliest Vereen can return to game action is Nov. 18 versus the Carolina Panthers.

It's a major loss for a revamped offense. Vereen was prepped for a "Joker" role as the most obvious candidate to compensate for the loss of Aaron Hernandez, exploiting mismatches against linebackers and safeties.

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With wide receiver Danny Amendola almost certain to be ruled out and tight end Rob Gronkowski "unlikely" to play Thursday night, the Patriots' passing attack will be extremely shorthanded against the New York Jets.

Coach Bill Belichick will have to lean on Stevan Ridley in the ground game while Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins fo the heavy lifting as Brady's go-to receivers.

Don't be surprised if Leon Washington, just re-signed Saturday, assumes Vereen's role as the passing-down specialist out of the backfield.

It seems like so much longer than a month ago when Brady had the rebuilt offense clicking on all cylinders in preparation for the preseason schedule.

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