Questions arise at defensive end as Patriots’ Derek Rivers heads to Boston for further injury evaluation

Fred Kfoury III | Icon Sportwire

The severity of Derek Rivers’ injury is currently unknown at this time.

What is known is that he is headed back to Boston for further testing.

The New England Patriots top draft pick went down with an injury in Wednesday’s joint practice with the Houston Texans in West Virginia – leaving the defensive end position scarce on the depth chart.

Rivers hurt his left leg/knee during a kickoff coverage drill. He was evaluated by a trainer, then ended up limping off on his own; but the team has planned to send him back to Boston for better evaluation.

His injury came less than a week after fellow rookie defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. suffered a head injury in the Patriots’ preseason opener. Wise was absent for both of the Patriots’ and Texans’ joint practices this week.

Rivers and Wise will not play in Saturday’s preseason game at Houston, leaving Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, Kony Ealy and Caleb Kidder to take over. Rivers and Wise were both projected to be locks on the 53-man roster, but with injuries sidelining them for at least a little while, the big question remains at defensive end.

Grissom and Ealy have been working hard in camp, but weren’t viewed as potential roster locks yet. Kidder and Keionta Davis are next in line, but Davis has not been physically cleared to practice.

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