It has been a rough offseason for the AFC East. During a joint practice with the Houston Texans on Wednesday, rookie defensive end Derek Rivers suffered a left leg/knee injury while participating in a kickoff coverage drill. Rivers joins the list of injured AFC East players, including Jordan Matthews of the Buffalo Bills, Lucky Whitehead and Quincy Enunwa of the New York Jets, and Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins.
Derek Rivers Returns to Boston for Medical Examination
While the New England Patriots left to participate in an upcoming preseason matchup against the Houston Texans, Rivers returned to Boston to undergo a medical examination for his injury. Rivers was joined by left tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who was injured on Tuesday. Neither Rivers nor Deatrich Wise Jr., the second defensive end drafted by New England in the 2017 NFL Draft, will participate in Saturday’s game. Wise suffered a head injury in last week’s preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that the team is optimistic but will wait to hear back from test results.
The Patriots are optimistic that Derek Rivers avoided a significant injury, but tests aren’t done yet. Still, the early word is positive.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 16, 2017
Rivers was selected by New England in the third round of the draft. The rookie out of Youngstown State was praised for his high level of production and ability to disrupt in gaps in the offense. He was New England’s first selection in the draft, having traded draft picks across the league for several key players. One of these trades involved defensive end Kony Ealy, formerly of the Carolina Panthers. The Patriots drafted Wise in the fourth round to supplement the position. The team also signed undrafted rookie Caleb Kidder in late July.
The injury raises concerns at defensive end for the Patriots. Earlier in the offseason, reports surfaced that Ealy had not participated in practice due to non-injury-related issues. Ealy is also reportedly dealing with a shoulder injury that will not keep him out of play on Saturday. Injuries to Rivers and Wise, coupled with apparent turbulence with Ealy, leaves the depth chart looking thin. Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, and Keionta Davis round out the Patriots roster at the position.