Harris ruled out; Pats may lean on rookie RBs

by Ricardo Gutierrez - With Damien Harris out and Rhamondre Stevenson listed as questionable, the Patriots may lean more on rookie rushers Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong Jr.

New England Patriots' Damien Harris ruled out vs. Raiders 11:41 AM ET Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer Close Covered Patriots since 1997 Joined ESPN in 2009 LAS VEGAS -- New England Patriots running back Damien Harris has been ruled out for Sunday's road game against the Las Vegas Raiders , possibly leaving the team further short-handed at the position with top rusher Rhamondre Stevenson listed as questionable with an ankle injury. This will mark the third straight game that Harris will miss due to a thigh injury. He has 84 carries for 383 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Meanwhile, Stevenson missed two practices this week and was limited for a third after injuring his left ankle in Monday's win over the Cardinals. He leads the team in rushing yards (742), receptions (58) and total touchdowns (5). Editor's Picks 2 Related If Stevenson doesn't play against the Raiders, it would leave rookies Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong Jr . as the lone running backs on the game-day roster. The Patriots could also promote J.J. Taylor from the practice squad. Harris and Strong played crucial roles in Monday's win over the Cardinals after Stevenson left the game. Harris, a sixth-round pick from South Carolina, had a 14-yard touchdown run. Strong, a fourth-round pick from South Dakota State, had a 44-yard rush and later added a 3-yard touchdown. They became the first Patriots rookies to rush for a touchdown in the same non-strike-season game since 1972 , when Josh Ashton and Brian Dowling accomplished the feat. The Patriots (7-6) are vying to strengthen their position for a playoff berth against the Raiders (5-8), who are coached by Josh McDaniels, New England's former offensive coordinator.