Ezekiel Elliott missed Thursday's practice with an illne

Since Week 13, Rhamondre Stevenson's injury has made Ezekiel Elliott New England's bell cow.

New England may be short-handed in the backfield for Sunday's game against the Bills after the running back missed practice on Thursday with an illness.

Elliott was one of five Patriots who skipped Thursday's practice. Trent Brown, left tackle, missed the workout with an illness for the second straight week.

Safeties Jalen Mills (concussion) and Jabrill Peppers (hamstring) missed their second straight day, while JuJu Smith-Schuster's ankle injury hampered him on Wednesday.

Elliott's a steady rusher and pass-catcher in New England, but he's yet to break out. 

Three weeks ago against the Steelers, he had 140 yards and two touchdowns in New England's last three wins.

After Elliott, the Patriots have only Kevin Harris and JaMycal Hasty as running back.

CBS will broadcast the Bills-Steelers game at 4:30 p.m. ET.

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