The New England Patriots' defense keeps taking hit after hit.
Their two most valuable players, nose tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo, are out for the season. Their best player in the secondary, cornerback Aqib Talib, is expected to miss this week's game against the New York Jets.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Talib is unlikely to play because of his hip injury. The hip injury is not believed to be serious, but at this point appears ready to keep him out this week. ProFootballTalk first reported the story.
Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (knee) also appears likely to be out once again; he hasn't practiced this week. Danny Amendola (concussion) also missed practice Thursday.
With so many defensive injury issues, the Patriots needs their offense to carry more of the load. But it's anyone's guess when Rob Gronkowski (forearm) will return. He's limited at practice. Here are the other injury nuggets from Thursday:
1. The Jacksonville Jaguars say wide receiver Cecil Shorts (shoulder) is a game-time decision.
2. Steven Jackson (hamstring) and Roddy White (hamstring, ankle) both remain out of practice. Jackson doesn't sound close to returning to the field for the Atlanta Falcons.
3. The Houston Texans sat Arian Foster (hamstring) at practice Thursday. Since he practiced Wednesday, this just looks like a precautionary move.
4. Buffalo Bills quarterback Thad Lewis is practicing in full. He'll start on Sunday in Miami.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers return man Jeff Demps underwent groin surgery Thursday. The Olympian just doesn't seem built for the NFL.
The latest Around The League Podcast discussed the NFL's most impressive rookies.