Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will miss Sunday’s game against the Bills in Buffalo after undergoing a procedure on his left knee on Thursday morning, according to an NFL source. His timetable to return is uncertain.
Because of the procedure, Edelman missed practice for the first time this year, although his knee has been bothering him for the majority of the season. The 34-year-old has been listed on the injury report as a limited participant in all practices but one, the Friday before the season opener.
Through six games, Edelman has 21 receptions for 315 yards and no touchdowns. His most productive outing came against the Seahawks in Week 2, when he set a career high with 179 receiving yards.
“[Julian’s] my guy,” quarterback Cam Newton said Thursday. “His presence was missed today. What he brings to this team, he’s more than just an unsung hero. He is everything the Patriots represent — heart, tough, resilient, gritty.”
The Patriots have yet to decide if Edelman will be placed on injured reserve or if his recovery will be treated week to week. Should he be placed on IR, Edelman will be required to miss at least three games. After the Bills, the Patriots’ next three opponents are the Jets, Ravens, and Texans.
Also sidelined Thursday was second-year receiver N’Keal Harry, who missed his second straight practice after sustaining a head injury in last Sunday’s loss to the 49ers.
Without Edelman and Harry, New England’s wide receiver depth chart is reduced to Damiere Byrd, Gunner Olszewski, and Jakobi Meyers. Isaiah Zuber, Kristian Wilkerson, and Mason Kinsey are also available on the practice squad.
If the Patriots sign or trade for a receiver, the newly acquired player would not be active on Sunday under the NFL’s new protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Meyers, whose snap count against the 49ers increased dramatically following Harry’s injury, will likely see another boost in playing time. Prior to last Sunday, Meyers had appeared in three games and was on the field for no more than 11 percent of New England’s offensive snaps.
“I’m definitely excited for the opportunity,” he said. “I’m going to do my best to put my best foot forward and continue to try to play the way I know I can play.”
Against the 49ers, Meyers caught four passes on six targets for 60 yards, but he said that performance had no bearing on his confidence moving forward.
“Confidence wasn’t something I was lacking,” he said. “I just want to keep proving myself. I’m just going to keep going into every game with the same confidence I already know I have. It’s more about gaining trust with me. I don’t need too many people to be on the bandwagon or boost me up, but I do need people to believe in me and know that when they put me out there and they put their name behind me, I’m something they can stand on proudly.”
Nicole Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.