Patriots WR Welker, Branch inactive vs. Dolphins

There will not be a devastating knee injury for Wes Welker in this regular-season finale.

The playoff-bound Patriots opted to rest Welker and fellow WR Deion Branch (knee) for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. New England lost Welker to a knee injury in the 2009 regular-season finale at Houston and lost to Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs.

Welker was limited in practice Friday; the reason given was “not injury related.”

Patriots LB Tully Banta-Cain (groin) and TE Aaron Hernandez (hip) also were ruled out of the game. However, DE Jermaine Cunningham (calf) is active after being limited in practice this week and listed as questionable.

Full inactives list:

Dolphins
Julius Pruitt
Nolan Carroll
Mike Rivera
Allen Barbre
Lydon Murtha
Anthony Fasano
Ryan Baker
Chris Baker

Patriots
Tully Banta-Cain
Ron Brace
Deion Branch
Brandon Deaderick
Aaron Hernandez
Wes Welker
Mike Wright
Dan Connolly

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