Just when it appeared Damien Harris would play a prominent role in the New England Patriots’ offense, the former Alabama running back instead will miss at least the first three games of the season.
The Patriots have placed Harris on injured reserve, making him one of four players with Alabama football roots who went on IR on Monday, according to the NFL’s official transactions report.
Also starting the 2020 season on injured reserve will be New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney (Alabama), Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough (Northridge, Alabama) and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (Athens).
BO SCARBROUGH GOES ON INJURED RESERVE TO CREATE ROSTER SPOT FOR HIS ‘IDOL’
By being placed on injured reserve after making the 53-player regular-season roster, the players will be eligible to return after three weeks. That’s a change this season made for the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, teams could bring back two players from injured reserve after they had stayed on IR for at least eight weeks. This year, teams can bring back an unlimited number of players from injured reserve after they stay on IR for at least three weeks.
As a rookie in 2019, Harris played five offensive snaps for the Patriots. But with Sony Michel, New England’s leading rusher the previous two seasons, missing most of training camp after offseason foot surgery, Harris stayed busy during the Patriots’ practices for the 2020 season.
DAMIEN HARRIS TAKING ‘QUITE A FEW REPS’ AT TRAINING CAMP
But Harris has not been on the field for any of New England’s September practices, and ESPN reported the running back had undergone surgery on a finger.
The Patriots won’t be without Michel when they open their 2020 season on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. The former Georgia standout returned to practice on Aug. 26.
McKinney was slated to start for the Giants after joining New York in the second round of the NFL Draft on April 24.
McKinney sustained a fracture in his left foot during training camp and had surgery on Aug. 26. The injury is expected to keep McKinney sidelined for at least 10 weeks, which would cost him the first eight games of the season, if that’s the case.
Watkins joined the Eagles as a sixth-round draft choice from Southern Miss on April 25.
Watkins has been sidelined since Aug. 29 with what has been reported as an upper-body injury.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.
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