Football; Hole in the middle; Bruschi's injury
blocks talk on knee injury
FOXBORO - Tedy Bruschi looked fine as he walked through the Patriots' locker room yesterday. No crutches, no support sleeves on his ``bruised'' right knee, no limp.
``All I can really tell you is that I'm doing treatment three times a day to get back on the field,'' said the veteran Patriots linebacker whose knee was injured during a collision with teammate Tebucky Jones early in a 23-3 exhibition victory over the Carolina Panthers on Friday night.
How about the MRI test he took to determine if there was any structural damage to the knee?
``I can't read those things,'' Bruschi replied.
Well, did the doctors who can read them give him any indication about the severity of the injury?
``All I can say,'' Bruschi said with a smile, ``is that the doctors are reading it. You know the way we do things around here. All I can say is that I'm getting three treatments a day.''
Well , then, are you optimistic that you'll be in the starting lineup against Pittsburgh on Sept. 9?
After hesitating a second, Bruschi responded: ``I don't know. I can't answer that. If I do, it means I have a little more knowledge about my knee than I have.''
His inability to project himself into the opening game lineup is not a good thing. Ted Johnson missed the last two games because of a concussion. Ryan Phillips was waived. Larry Izzo has been a kicking game specialist. That leaves the frequently cut Ula Tuitele as the likely starter for the final preseason game Thursday in Washington.
But from Bruschi's vantage point, that's not a bad thing.
``Out of all the linebackers, he's had the best camp,'' Bruschi said. ``He's really improved.''
After taking over for Bruschi early in the first quarter, the 6-foot-1, 255-pound Colorado State product played through the third quarter and finished with a team-high 11 tackles.
Though there were times when Tuitele looked like a kindergarten teacher during a fire drill, waving his arms wildly and jumping around, Bruschi pointed out that his teammate was just doing what he was supposed to do.
``He was communicating with the outside linebackers,'' Bruschi said. ``We had a couple of busts on assignments and alignments, and Ula was trying to fix them.'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has released Tuitele six times in the last two years, only to sign him seven times, has seen a big improvement in Tuitele's play
``He's been productive,'' Belichick said. ``He's gotten some oportunities and he's really taken advantage of them.''
Bruschi among minor injury
FOXBORO - One of the most remarkable elements of the Patriots' Super Bowl run last season was the overall health of the team down the stretch. For much of December and into January, the team's injury list was virtually barren.
It remains to be seen if the Pats will enter 2002 the way they ended 2001.
While there are no major injuries afflicting the roster, there are a few issues to keep an eye on as the Patriots prepare for their season-opener Sept. 9 against Pittsburgh at Gillette Stadium.
Foremost among them is the status of starting middle linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a sprained right knee ligament in the Pats' preseason game against Carolina on Aug. 23.
The injury was expected to keep Bruschi out at least two weeks, which gave him a chance to return for the Steelers game if he recovered well. Bruschi did not practice last week before sitting out the preseason finale at Washington. However, Bruschi did continue to run and work out. If Bruschi isn't ready for the Steelers, he doesn't figure to be out too much longer.
Guard/center Damien Woody also missed the last two preseason games with a shoulder injury, although it's not thought to be serious. He dressed for the Redskins game but didn't play.
Tight end Cam Cleeland experienced tightness in his leg muscles last week and didn't travel to Washington. Coach Bill Belichick expressed optimism that he would be back on the field next week.
The High Notes
Patriots Notebook: Bruschi: Steelers showed no class at end
FOXBORO -- Several of the Patriots were not happy with Pittsburgh clawing and scratching to get into the end zone in the game's final minute.
Tedy Bruschi was restrained on the field after one goal-line play, and didn't hold back his disdain for the Steelers after the game.
Bruschi, who has seen players hurt late in games when the outcome already has been decided, said he "lost respect" for Pittsburgh because it chose to play hard until the final gun and not accept a 30-7 defeat. Bruschi said he worried about injuries because some players might not be running at full speed.
"I did have some respect for that team, but after what they pulled on that last drive, it's totally lost now," Bruschi said. "You're getting beat . . . just accept it with class. I know we would have if the tables were turned. But they're out there calling timeouts, trying to get extra yards, padding their stats. I don't know. Let's just end the game and get out of there healthy. They're putting both teams at risk."
Pittsburgh actually called two timeouts (at 50 and 39 seconds) to try to score. Kordell Stewart eventually capped an 11-play drive with a 1-yard plunge with four ticks left.
Bruschi said former teammate Marty Moore tore his Achilles tendon during garbage time of a game against Indianapolis last season, and he says he feared someone else could go down.
"I couldn't believe it. What's the difference between 30-7 and 30-14? I don't know what the difference is," he said.
Lawyer Milloy called the late-game fluff "stupid."
One for all . . .
Asked if the Steelers knew how physical the Patriots can be, Milloy said, "They better. They'll keep getting hit in the mouths. When in doubt, we hit. We have each other's backs [covered]
Despite having two weeks to prepare for yesterday's encounter at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots defense got steamrolled by quarterback Brian Griese and the Denver Broncos in a 24-16 loss before a capacity crowd of 68,436.
The hellish streak of 100-yard rushers that began with the Chiefs' Priest Holmes on Sept. 22 was extended to five games, tying a dubious franchise record set in 1990. Clinton Portis ripped through the Patriots for 111 yards on 26 carries (4.3 per rush) with a pair of touchdowns. The threat of Portis allowed Griese to play-action pass his way to 229 yards and a touchdown.
Because he stands at the focal point of the Patriots defense, Bruschi personally took the fall for allowing the Broncos to roll up 351 net yards and convert 8-of-13 times (62 percent) on third down.
``I take responsibility on myself and I now have to play better,'' Bruschi said. ``We have to play better as players. Let's look at it as that starting with me.
``I look at it for what it is. We've lost four in a row, and we've got to do what we've got to do to get better. I'm going to keep on doing the things I've been doing and try to do more to turn the team around.
``I think if we all collectively have that attitude, we'll be all right.''
Bruschi had no business placing the Pats' woes on defense at his doorstep. He finished with seven tackles and made two crucial fourth-quarter plays deep in Patriots territory that kept the team's hopes alive.
The Broncos were on the verge of icing the game when Bruschi made the stop of the game. The Broncos were third-and-goal from the 1 when Griese handed the ball off to fullback Mike Anderson.
Bruschi fended off a block, strung Anderson to the left side of the line and made the solo tackle for no gain. The Broncos had to settle for a 19-yard Jason Elam field goal that made it an eight-point game with 9:45 to play.
``That was one of the things we worked on (in practice) because our goal-line efficiency had been poor. We haven't been able to keep teams out of the end zone,'' Bruschi said. ``We hold them to three instead of seven to keep us in the game. We were still alive, we still had life, and defensively that's what we want to do.''
The Broncos threatened again with a first-and-10 from the Patriots 22 with 6:21 to play, but Bruschi busted through the line and sacked Griese for a 7-yard loss. The Broncos managed only 1 yard on the next two plays, and Elam missed a 39-yard field goal attempt.
LINEBACKERS C+: There must be some weird mathematical formula to establish playing time. Bruschi was a force in the final Bears drive and he had a sack and a deflection early in the game. But all too often, The Playmaker could be found on the sidelines waiting for a chance to play.
This defense isn't that good that it can function regularly with Bruschi out of action. Johnson's steady improvement is certainly a factor. He was credited with only five tackles by the Bears stat crew, but he wasn't mentioned on the two big stops on Thomas in the fourth quarter even though he figured in both.
McGinest came from the left end to make the stop on Thomas on second-and-1 and finished with a team-high six tackles and a deflection.
Bruschi INT on review
OAKLAND, Calif. - It
wouldn't seem like a game with the Raiders - or any Patriots game for that
matter - without some kind of wacky play causing the fans' jaws to drop.
Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon's pass, intended for wide receiver Jerry Porter, ricocheted off Patriots safety Lawyer Milloy's foot and popped up into the waiting arms of Bruschi. Off the linebacker went, untouched, into the end zone to draw the Patriots within 11 points at 24-13.
But wait, it was time for a replay. The Raiders challenged the pick, saying the ball hit the ground before hitting Milloy's foot. Referee Ed Hochuli, however, couldn't find enough evidence to overturn the call.
``I was hoping that way was going to be a momentum changer,'' Bruschi said. ``But they posed some problems for us on both offense and defense. I think that team was hitting on all cylinders.''
While it seemed like the ball might have hit the ground before clunking Milloy's boot, Bruschi made a salient point which supported the call.
``When the ball hits the ground, it doesn't bounce like that. It skids,'' said Bruschi, who led the team with seven tackles and three assists to go along with the interception return.
``When it bounced up, I knew I could make a play.''
He did make a play, only it wasn't quite enough. The Pats offense sputtered all night, while the defense just couldn't contain Gannon and Co.
So it's back to even for the Pats.
``Five-and-five is five-and-five,'' Bruschi said regarding the club's record. ``I'm a bottom-line guy. We have six weeks left at making a run toward being one of the better teams in the playoffs.''
Pat Patriot returns for one day
``I love the throwback look, but I guess that's because I consider myself kind of a throwback player,'' he said. ``I've been waiting seven years to play in this uniform, so I'm excited.''
Asked who would win the battle - Pat Patriot or the more current Flying Elvis - Bruschi diplomatically called the matchup ``a draw.'' Others weren't so sure.
``I'm not sure I'd want to come across him in a dark alley,'' Matt Light said.
Otis Smith admitted he was warming up to the idea after watching it from afar on television or, as teammate Grey Ruegamer referred to it, ``on sports classic television.''
``It looks a lot better in person,'' Smith said, echoing the thoughts of one of the newest Patriots, Christian Fauria.
``Well, it's OK for one game,'' Fauria said. ``That's cool. Hopefully we get to keep them and pass them down to our young ones. I'm finicky about my helmets. I like my old one, but this will work for one game. This guy's an intimidator.''
The New England linebacker fakes a blitz, drops back, and makes a key interception early in the game.
DETROIT -- Second quarter. Second-and-10. Detroit's first possession of the game. The Lions already trail 3-0 and rookie quarterback Joey Harrington is under center. On this play, he's operating with an empty backfield.
Reading this formation, the defensive call goes out for linebackers Roman Phifer and Tedy Bruschi to blitz from the left and right, respectively.
The ball's snapped. The offensive line slides to the right and lurches back into pass protection. Phifer has an alley off the left edge. Bruschi, who's looping inside to blitz from the middle, sees the line slide and the mass of humanity that's building. He breaks off his blitz and drops into coverage looking for a receiver running either a slant or a cross.
Harrington sees Phifer. He also sees his "hot" receiver on the blitz, Larry Foster. He doesn't see Bruschi. As Harrington releases the ball, Bruschi stretches out his arms. The ball finds his hands. Bruschi stumbles briefly, then rights himself and lumbers 27 yards into the end zone to make it 10-0 Patriots.
Neither Harrington nor the Lions really ever recovers from that start. The Patriots win, 20-12.
"We've been working on that play since the first day of training camp," Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick said of the intricate blitz. "We've messed it up a few times along the way, but it worked perfectly that particular time. Tedy made a great job of coming across, getting in front of the slant pattern. Very well-executed play defensively on his part. Just the way we practice it. We don't know what the pattern will be, but the way the line slid to Bruschi, he never would have gotten to the quarterback. They had him picked up so he recognized that and slid out."
"A lot of things have to go right," Bruschi said in the locker room after the game. Despite injuring his right knee and missing the rest of the game after getting cut block by Lions' guard Tony Semple on another blitz late in the first, Bruschi stood upright and looked OK.
"One, it was an adjustment to the empty backfield set," he explained. "Two, you've got to get the gaps right [the defensive lineman and linebackers have to fill the right spaces in the offensive line]. You have to get everybody in the right gap. Three, you have to have the right read from the offensive line and then drop back in coverage and start reading cross or slant. And if the right route comes your way, you have to make the play."
That play is a case study in why Bruschi, despite being somewhat undersized, is one of the most valuable players to the Patriots. He's smart, decisive, confident, well-schooled and physically able to execute what his mind tells him to do.
That's why, if he's lost for any extended period, the Patriots are looking at a December that just got a whole lot tougher.
The knee he injured is the same one he hurt in preseason when his leg whipped around Tebucky Jones while trying to make a play. On both plays he was going full tilt. That's been his nature.
If Bruschi's out for an extended period -- and that's not clear since he'll have an MRI this week and the Pats will be characteristically tight-lipped about his standing -- other players will have to fill the void.
Veteran linebacker Ted Johnson played well for Bruschi yesterday and looked outstanding in pass coverage, an area not usually seen as his strong suit. And special-teams maven Larry Izzo was in there as well and he had an impact late in the game, causing some Lions' receivers to think twice about going over the middle.
But even though he and Bruschi split time, Johnson scoffed at the notion the team would be just fine if Bruschi is slow to mend.
"I want him back 100 percent and ready to go as soon as possible," he said.
If you're a Patriots fan, you likely feel the same way.
Pats take double dip: Bruschi, Seymour injured
Patriots Notebook/by Michael Felger Friday, November 29, 2002
DETROIT - The Patriots suffered two potentially disastrous injuries in yesterday's 20-12 victory over the Lions, but Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour both set their sights on returning to action next Sunday against Buffalo at Gillette Stadium.
Of the two, Bruschi's status is more uncertain. The linebacker re-injured his right knee on a first-quarter blitz when Lions guard Tony Semple blocked him low, straightening out his knee as he flew in the air. Bruschi had to be carted off the field just before half, although he was walking under his own power after the game. Bruschi will have an MRI this weekend to determine the full damage.
The play was similar to one that occurred in the Pats' preseason game against Carolina on Aug. 23 when Bruschi sprained a ligament in the same knee. He was out two weeks after that hit but came back in time for the Pats' season-opener against Pittsburgh on Sept. 9.
``To say it's similar, I don't know yet. I think they can give me more information after the MRI and we'll go from there,'' said Bruschi, who shot down the notion that the injury could be season-ending. ``For the year? I pride myself on being a quick healer. So that's the last thing from my mind. Fortunately we have a long week and I've got a few extra days to get right. Who knows? Maybe I'll be out there for Buffalo.''
Earlier, Bruschi made the play of the game when he stepped in front of a Joey Harrington pass, kept his balance and then went 27 yards down the sidelines for a touchdown. Coach Bill Belichick said it was a defensive play the team had been working on all season and finally got right in a game.
``That was the plan,'' Bruschi said. ``If you can get (Harrington) to get it out before he wants to, that's when you create mistakes. And that's what happened.''
As for Seymour, he left the game in the second quarter with what he called a bruised thigh. He didn't return, but Seymour said he surely will be ready for Buffalo.
``That's the game plan,'' he said. ``Ice, treatment and be ready to go next Sunday.''
Don't expect Belichick to offer any help on the injured players. When asked about the two injuries, Belichick described them as ``sore legs.''
By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff, 11/29/2002
The Patriots' middle linebacker said it was the same injury he had in the exhibition game against Carolina in August, and it is unclear whether he will miss any time. The Patriots don't play again until Dec. 8.
''I took a shot on it,'' said Bruschi. ''I believe an offensive lineman went low on me and got a helmet or a shoulder pad on my knee, and I wasn't able to return to the game, and I'll just have to wait for some test results and go from there.''
Bruschi took the hit late in the first quarter and never returned. He was replaced primarily by Larry Izzo, who played very well.
''We have some time to rest, for myself to rest before we play our next game,'' said Bruschi, whose touchdown return was his second this season.
Also hurt in the first half, and not able to return, was defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who suffered an injury to his left quadriceps/thigh area. As he waited to board the team bus, Seymour said he expected to be OK and that because of the 10-day layoff, he may not miss any action.
By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press, 11/29/2002 14:32
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Friday both players had ''sore legs'' and were expected at the stadium for treatment. Otherwise, the players earned the day off with the win and won't be back at practice until Monday, when they'll begin preparing for the Dec. 8 game against the Buffalo Bills.
No other information about the injuries would be available, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said.
Bruschi, who returned an interception 27 yards for the Patriots' first touchdown, hurt his right knee with 2:05 left in the first quarter when he tried to leap over a Lions blocker and smacked it against a helmet. He did not return to the game.
Bruschi said it was the same injury he had in an exhibition game against Carolina; he missed the final preseason game but was ready for the regular season opener. He is expected to have an MRI to determine the extent of the damage.
''I'll just have to wait for some test results and go from there,'' he said Thursday. ''We have some time to rest, for myself to rest before the next game.''
Seymour hurt his left thigh later in the first half and did not return. He said Thursday he might not miss any time, thanks to the 10-day layoff after the Thanksgiving Day game.
Despite the injury early in the game, Bruschi made his presence felt. On the Lions' first possession, he slid across the middle to grab Joey Harrington's pass and then took it 27 yards for a touchdown to give New England a 10-0 lead.
Seymour had also been productive statistically, at least after a slow stretch that coincided with the team's slump. He had 10 tackles in five games before combining for 11 with two sacks and a fumble recovery against the Raiders (Nov. 17) and Vikings (Nov. 24).
Because of the week off, New England will be able to watch Sunday's games on television with special interest on the game between AFC East rivals Buffalo and Miami instead of getting their first look at the game tapes. But that doesn't mean the Patriots will be taking it easy.
''Well, this isn't really the time of the year for watching. We've got a job to do and we're just trying to win games,'' Belichick said. ''We'll watch the game because we have a vested interest in the game. If I watch the Army-Navy game, I'll watch that for pleasure. I'll root for Navy and that'll be pleasure.''
Friday, November 29, 2002
Holiday cheer with a price
By Hector Longo
The news: Tedy Bruschi suffered a knee injury in the first half yesterday, leaving the game and not returning. Bruschi will have the knee looked at today when the Pats return to Foxboro before getting a few, well-deserved days off.
Our slant: Pray, pray and pray some more. Bruschi, at linebacker, and cornerback Ty Law have game in and game out been the two, true standouts on the defense this year. Bruschi's interception return for a touchdown might be one of the greatest plays in Patriots history. It truly was one man squeezing every ounce of athletic ability from his 5-11, 240-pound frame into one incredible play, swooping from a fake blitz to pull in a Joey Harrington dump pass and race to the end zone, diving in.
Every play without Bruschi is trouble for the Pats' defense.
Injury update: Zilch
Mum's the word on Bruschi, Seymour
By Bob Ryan, Globe Staff, 11/30/2002
Coach Bill Belichick would rather have been caught singing ''On, Brave Old Army Team'' than divulge any real info concerning the two defensive stalwarts, each of whom was injured during Thursday's 20-12 conquest of the Detroit Lions. ''There's nothing to report,'' he said at yesterday morning's briefing. ''They have leg injuries.''
Bruschi took a helmet to his right knee from Tony Semple in the first quarter, two series after his interception return for a touchdown, and later was carted off the field. Bruschi (19 tackles the previous two games) likely underwent tests yesterday. The best anyone could pull out of Belichick was that, for all he knew, the injured duo was undergoing treatment even as he spoke.
Larry Izzo replaced Bruschi alongside Ted Johnson in New England's 3-4 alignment and made a nice open-field tackle in the fourth quarter to hold fullback Stephen Trejo to a 5-yard reception. If Bruschi is not ready to go against Buffalo a week from tomorrow, the Patriots could go with a 4-3 alignment with Johnson in the middle or turn to Matt Chatham for inside linebacker help. Roman Phifer and Mike Vrabel are also versatile enough to play inside.
Seymour, who suffered a thigh injury, should benefit from the extra rest. The break also gives free safety Tebucky Jones's leg injury more time to heal. He's missed the last two games.
Patriots Notebook/by Michael Felger
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi (knee) is expected to sit out Sunday's game against Buffalo, something that directly affects the regular defense and also trickles down to special teams. To help fill the void in the kicking game, the Pats resigned veteran safety Chris Hayes yesterday.
Nearly all of the Pats' linebackers play on special teams, but the coaches may want to limit that work over the next few weeks as players such as Ted Johnson, Mike Vrabel and Roman Phifer probably will be seeing extra snaps on defense. . . .
Players will report to Foxboro today for meetings and practice after being off since Thursday night. Tuesdays are off days for the players around the NFL, but the players happily agreed to the schedule switch. They will practice in Foxboro through the remainder of the week.
By Howard Ulman, Associated Press, 12/4/2002 19:38
Bruschi is expected to miss the New England Patriots' game Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, and Johnson expects increased duties.
''I will have a more expanded role, but it's not going to be to the point (of) what Tedy does,'' Johnson said Wednesday. ''God didn't grant me with that kind of ability. I do what I do and that's what I do.''
Johnson is considered more of a run stopper. Bruschi plays a bigger role in the pass defense and had two interception returns for touchdowns in his last three games.
Bruschi is doubtful because of a knee injury sustained early in New England's 20-12 win over Detroit on Thanksgiving.
''He's so much fun to play with. His spirit is contagious,'' said Johnson, Bruschi's teammate for seven seasons. ''I don't know how long this is going to be, but we'll do the best we can.''
Johnson is the Patriots fifth leading tackler, while Bruschi is third.
''On a personal level, I feel bad for'' Bruschi, said Drew Bledsoe, anticipating his first game in Foxboro since his offseason trade. ''But on a professional level, I'd be really happy to see him standing over there in street clothes because he is very tough to play against.''
There are two good signs for Johnson.
In the only game Bruschi missed this season, game three against the Kansas City Chiefs, Johnson led the Patriots with 13 tackles. And in their first game this year against Buffalo, Johnson had six tackles and combined with Willie McGinest for a third-down sack of Bledsoe on the Bills' opening drive of the Patriots' 38-7 win.
New England and Miami are tied for the AFC East lead at 7-5. Buffalo and the New York Jets are 6-6. And Bledsoe is fifth in the NFL in quarterback rating, one spot ahead of the Patriots' Tom Brady.
''The way they played Miami last week was impressive,'' Johnson said.
In that 38-21 win, Bledsoe threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson is coming off a decent performance with five tackles against Detroit, most after Bruschi was hurt.
Without Bruschi, the Patriots are likely to play more 4-3 defenses with Johnson as the middle linebacker.
Johnson, who has spent all eight of his NFL seasons with the Patriots, started only five of the 12 games he played last year.
This year, he left the team seven days before the season opener against Pittsburgh amid indications he wouldn't be activated for that game. He returned three days later and was not active for it.
Before the first Buffalo game, he said there are no hard feelings. He's started seven of the 10 games he's played and Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been impressed.
''Ted's just playing good football all the way around,'' Belichick said.
Sunday's opposing coach, Gregg Williams, has noticed.
''I've always admired Ted Johnson's and Tedy Bruschi's play,'' he said. ''They always have some of the top linebackers in the league.''
The healthy ones Johnson, Roman Phifer and Mike Vrabel must contend with their former teammate, Bledsoe.
''He's given them some confidence in the future of that franchise, and, obviously, this year,'' Johnson said. ''He's one of the best quarterbacks in this league and his leadership is unmatched.''
And his friendship with Johnson and other Patriots endures.
''If we decide to go out to dinner, this one's on me,'' Johnson said.
''Ted said dinner's on him?'' Bledsoe responded. ''That'd be a first.'
Nick Cafardo Mailbag 12/06/02
The more you watch Tedy Bruschi, the more you realize how important he is to the Patriots defense. In the Kansas City game that he missed, the Chiefs were able to score at will and part of the reason is because the Patriots were lacking Bruschi's fire in the middle of the field. Bruschi was scheduled to be out of this weekend's Buffalo game, and this is a huge loss for the Patriots. Bruschi makes up in pure desire and adrenaline what he lacks in physical size. That adrenaline is contagious to the rest of his defensive teammates. It will be interesting to see whether the Patriots defense struggles without that presence in the middle.
The 2001 Patriots had more than their share of injuries and
misfortune to deal with during the course of their magical Super Bowl season.
Most of their adversity came early on, lowlighted of course by Drew Bledsoe’s
chest injury suffered in the second game of year.
12/13/02 Boston Globe Patriots Notebook
If Tedy Bruschi does not return for the remainder of the regular season because of his severe knee sprain, it won't be for lack of effort. Bruschi is spending countless hours rehabbing. He's still listed as doubtful ...
12/24/02 from Bill Belichick's Press conference:
Q: Where's [Tedy] Bruschi on that?
BB: Day-to-day. Definitely getting better, definitely improving, he was able to do some running this week, ahead of what he did last week. We'll throw him out there today and see whether that's …
Q: He didn't practice at all last
Q: Is he somebody that falls into that category that it's conceivable that he can tell you that he feels like he's ready to play?
BB: I think
that'll be a tough one because he hasn't played in almost a month now. I'm
talking about a situation more like Joe Andruzzi. Who's basically played pretty
much every week, there've been a couple weeks where he really hasn't been able
to practice, but by the end of the week he feels okay. And you watch him run
maybe on Saturday or Sunday before the game, and feel like, 'okay, he's
physically okay, he just hasn't been able to take the reps in practice during
the week,' but he's been playing every week. I think that's a lot different from
guy who hasn't played in a month, and then all of a sudden say, 'Coach, I'm
ready to go now,' that's a tough one.....
12/27/02 Globe Patriots Notebook
Tedy Bruschi was the only Patriot on the injured list who did not take part in practice yesterday at Boston College. The chances of Bruschi playing Sunday are slim, but Belichick said the linebacker is making great strides. Whether that means Bruschi could be a late add to the active roster remains to be seen.
Ask Nick Mailbag 12/27/02
Tedy Bruschi has done unbelievable work in trying to get back to form so he can play Sunday against Miami. The linebacker has spent hours rehabbing his damaged right knee. He didn't practice on Thursday, but Bruschi hasn't ruled out the possibility of facing the Dolphins on Sunday. Given his energy and the enthusiasm he brings to the team, his return would be huge for the Patriots defense.
Hurtin' for certain
Now that the season is over the Pats no longer need to carry on the charade of Tedy Bruschi's injury being a ``day-to-day'' issue. Bruschi suffered a severe MCL tear on Thanksgiving in Detroit, an injury that figured to land Bruschi on injured reserve. The Pats were apparently holding out hope that Bruschi would be able to return if the Pats went on a deep playoff run. . . .
From Patriots Notebook
Nick Cafardo 12/31/02
... In addition to Brown, Tedy Bruschi(knee), Joe Andruzzi(knee), and Mike Vrabel(shoulder) could have surgery, though coach Bill Belichick said it was ''optional'' in some cases.