FOXBOROUGH -- When Ty Law tore off the boot protecting his left foot yesterday and set off to use the stationary bicycle, he walked with barely a limp, giving credence to his hopes of being back in the Patriots' lineup in two more weeks.
Law, who hadn't talked publicly since breaking the foot in the first quarter of a 34-20 loss to Pittsburgh Oct. 31, later amended his comments, saying he hoped to be back "with a few games remaining in the regular season." Suffice to say, Law, who said he had the hard cast removed earlier this week, is feeling better about his return.
"I finally got the cast off and I'm able to move around somewhat, but I still can't do what I do," he said. "I'll try to get back as fast as I can. I'm definitely hopeful of [returning before the end of the season], but only time will tell. I'm just happy to have the cast off right now."
Law said the poor field conditions at Heinz Field may have contributed to the injury because his foot appeared to stick in the turf while his body went a different way.
"It's pretty bad," Law said of the Heinz playing surface. "Hopefully, they'll do something else about it so no one else gets hurt. I don't know if that's what the actual cause was for me, but it's pretty bad."
Asked if he filed a complaint with the league, Law said, "No, I didn't because if it wasn't that, it could have been someone else rolling up on you like last year. I could have been making a tackle, so it's part of the game. You get injured. I've been blessed and fortunate enough to play through my career without anything happening. It's a setback, but it'll give me a chance to come back and help the team down the stretch."
Law, who has missed parts of five games, indicated breaking the bone on top of the foot, is rare, but he's hoping it is healing properly. He said he has religiously followed his doctors' instructions and has undergone laser therapy to promote healing.
"I've been doing Pilates and riding the bike. I'm just now on the bike, so that's a little more energizing for me," he said. "As far as putting real pressure on it, it's just a matter of time. I think it should be a couple of weeks and I should be ready to roll."
Law said he has enjoyed watching his replacements in the Patriots' defensive backfield and is pleased the team is still winning without him.
"I'd rather much play than be a spectator, but I'm getting a bunch of thrills from seeing the guys out there," he said. "They're getting experience and the team is doing great. They're holding down the fort until I get back. We're keeping it simple for the guys. They've done a great job with guys who can play multiple positions. We're asking a lot but they're holding it down. Guys like Ted Johnson and Tedy Bruschi, the regulars, those guys are stepping up even more.
"I think Earthwind Moreland, Randall Gay, and Troy Brown are doing a great job. I had to ask Troy, `When I come back, can I have my job back?' "
Law has resisted the urge to point out things he sees to the younger players, unless they ask for his help.
"They have enough [coaching]," he said. "They have the pressure of just playing. The less they have to know and learn and the less people they have in their ear the better. They can go out there and perform to the best of their abilities, and they're doing a great job.
"I don't know what lesson I'm supposed to learn from this because it was just one of those freak things. I didn't hit anybody. It's unfortunate that it happened to myself and Tyrone [Poole, who remains doubtful with a knee injury], but we have a guy like Rodney [Harrison] who's keeping the team together, and smart coaches who have simplified the defense."
In that game against the Steelers, Law knew almost immediately that something was wrong.
"I thought it was like a knuckle or ankle pop," he recalled. "I was like. `OK, I'm going to get up and walk.' And then I tried and I went, `Whoa.' I felt it pop and I knew it was a break. I couldn't walk, but I didn't let them cart me. I wasn't about to start waving and have them cart me off. But I'll tell you a little secret, when we got into that tunnel I said, `Bring the cart, I need it.' "
Law has dealt with injuries before, and while some players may have thought about shutting it down for the season, it never crossed Law's mind.
"I've been around here a long time," he said. "You know me better than that. For me to consider something like that, no. Why would I do that? For what? I don't have anything to gain by shutting it down. That's not me. I tried to come back during the Pittsburgh game."