There’s more bad news out of Foxborough, as if the New England Patriots didn’t have a high enough level of difficulty heading into the 2020 season. The team is already entering the Sept. 13 battle against the rival Miami Dolphins with a league-most eight players having opted out over COVID-19 concerns, including star linebacker Dont’a Hightower and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, but now there’s a chance they’ll be without one of their offensive weapons as well. Damien Harris, who’s been impressive in training camp and who’s giving lead back Sony Michel a run for his money, suffered an injury to his pinky finger that required surgery to repair — per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

With the prognosis being several weeks before it’s fully healed, it’s now possible Harris will miss the opener. The Patriots have not yet ruled him in or out, however, and likely won’t make that determination until much closer to kickoff.

Harris, a former third-round pick entering his second year in New England, is hoping to deepen his value with the club in a big way this coming season. Given the durability questions surrounding former first-round pick Sony Michel, the Patriots wouldn’t mind Harris doing just that. The 23-year-old logged just five offensive snaps as a rookie and logged only 12 rushing yards on four attempts, but Bill Belichick likes what he’s seeing from Harris in camp, putting the young halfback in position to potentially siphon some reps from Michel. He proved himself a capable RB in his time at Alabama, rushing for 3,070 yards and 23 touchdowns — including two 1,000-yard rushing seasons — in four years of work.

The good news for Harris and the Patriots is he won’t miss significant time due to the current injury, but they’re unsure yet if he’ll miss any at all. The presence of Harris is likely one reason — in conjunction with Michel — the Patriots didn’t make the hardest push to land Leonard Fournette. If both Harris and Michel can remain healthy, they could do some damage for Belichick in 2020.

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