The New England Patriots placed defensive lineman Ron Brace on season-ending injured reserve Monday because of an ailing elbow.
The two-year NFL veteran was hurt in the next-to-last regular-season game, a 34-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills, and didn't play in Sunday's 38-7 win over the Miami Dolphins.
The move opens a roster spot filled by rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes, who was eligible to return Monday after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. The Boston Herald confirmed that Spikes was back on the Patriots' roster.
New England has a bye before facing the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens or New York Jets in the playoffs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.