Patriots have eight players miss practice with 'illness' ahead of Texans game

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
"Do your job" now extends to washing your hands. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The New England Patriots have Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans waiting for them Sunday in a battle of AFC division leaders. Their midweek opponent might be even nastier.

A whopping eight players on the Patriots missed practice Wednesday with what is listed as an illness, including star cornerback Stephon Gilmore and four other starters on the 10-1 team.

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The absences come as a flu bug is reportedly making its way through the New England locker room, according to NFL Network’s Michael Giardi.

It’s apparently the worst bug the team has experience in a decade, according to one quote from the Boston Herald:

“This is probably, for me, in my 10 years here, the most guys I’ve seen just be gone from being sick,” said Pats safety Devin McCourty. “No injuries or anything, we just had guys come in and you look in their eyes and you could just tell they were just out of it. Hopefully a day at home and meds and rest can help guys out.”

Obviously, missing that many starters would be quite a problem for the Patriots if this illness extends to game day. Fortunately, they still have four days to get healthy.

The bigger objective might be to make sure no other players contract the illness, which the team seems to be working on.

The situation is apparently serious enough that several players are taking preventative measures, with one even wearing a facemask. Another reportedly relayed that head coach Bill Belichick has urged his players to remain germ-free.

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