The Patriots announced on their Friday injury report that running back Rex Burkhead will not play against the Texans. He was listed on the report with a rib ailment.
While questions had surrounded Burkhead's availability for the game throughout the week (ESPN's Mike Reiss reported that Burkhead was unlikely to play on Thursday), his loss is still a blow for the Pats. The former Bengal has only been on the field for 18 snaps over the first two weeks while trying to overcome his rib problems. And though his impact has been outsized in the game--he caught a 19-yard TD from Brady and recorded five touches on only eight snaps against the Saints--he didn't appear at all in the second half and left for the locker room during that game.
Without Burkhead in the lineup, the Pats will still roll with Mike Gillislee on early downs and near the goal line, with James White picking up most of the work in the passing game. As of now, Burkhead's availability for Week 4 is still up in the air--while he should start practicing at some point next week, we'll just have to wait and see if he can participate in time to prepare for the Patriots' date with the Carolina Panthers.