Haynesworth, Pryor are questionable
FOXBOROUGH - NFL teams may have been restricted to just one padded practice during training camp, and it’s only the first week of the regular season, but to look at the Patriots’ injury report, you might think they’ve been in pads nonstop and it’s Week 11.
New England listed 13 players as questionable for tomorrow night’s game, including two players who were just added to the report yesterday: defensive tackles Albert Haynesworth and Myron Pryor.
Haynesworth was not present for the media-access portion of yesterday’s practice, and the team reported that he did not practice because of an illness.
By league rule, “questionable’’ means there’s a 50-50 chance a player won’t be able to play.
Though Pryor was present during the media-access window, the Patriots reported that he did not practice because of a groin injury.
The third player who didn’t practice was right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who missed the entire week of on-field sessions. He is also listed as questionable, but given that he did not practice all week, it would be a surprise if he is active tomorrow night.
That means rookie Nate Solder likely will be stepping in at right tackle, where he frequently will face Miami’s Cameron Wake.
Other players listed as questionable for New England are: Mark Anderson (knee), Kyle Arrington (hip), Dan Connolly (foot), Jermaine Cunningham (groin), Dane Fletcher (thumb), Taylor Price (hamstring), Stevan Ridley (ankle), Jeff Tarpinian (knee), Shane Vereen (hamstring), and Ryan Wendell (calf). All were limited in practice.
Leigh Bodden and Julian Edelman both are listed as probable with hand injuries; the Patriots said each practiced fully.
But one name absent from the lengthy injury report was Tom Brady. It is the first time since the Friday before the 2008 regular-season opener with Kansas City that the quarterback has not been listed as probable with a right shoulder injury.
The Dolphins declared running back Charles Clay out, and rookie running back Daniel Thomas as questionable. Both have hamstring injuries.
A new threat Miami added Reggie Bush via a trade with New Orleans at the start of training camp, and the versatile running back adds a new element to the Dolphins’ offense, according to the Patriots.
Bush can carry the ball, be used as a receiver, and is a potentially dangerous punt returner.
“Reggie does it from a bunch of different angles,’’ said cornerback Devin McCourty. “Not just getting handoffs, he’s also in the passing game and he’s a fast, explosive player, so you can’t give him much room out there. He’s a guy that can make a lot of plays on the field.’’
Linebacker Rob Ninkovich agreed.
“He’s definitely the playmaker,’’ said Ninkovich. “He’s fast and can get out of the backfield and make the plays, so you have to make sure you contain him and don’t let him beat you with his feet because he’s real fast and he’ll get out.’’
Bush might be a solid pass-catcher, but Ninkovich wouldn’t say he must be covered like a receiver.
“He runs hard and he’s got great vision but I wouldn’t say he’s a receiver,’’ said Ninkovich. “He’s been playing running back for a long time now and he’s got good vision and he makes great cuts. He knows how to read his blocks. So he’s a good running back. You just have to make sure you contain him.’’
Bush played in Miami’s second and third preseason games, with 13 carries and four receptions.
Itching to go On Friday, Bill Belichick acknowledged that he will have butterflies just before kickoff, but once the game gets underway, they’ll disappear.
Miami coach Tony Sparano expects that he and his players will be “jumping out of their skin,’’ after watching today’s slate of NFL games.
“I got to catch a little bit of [Packers-Saints], you know, and got really excited when you see that environment and crowd,’’ Sparano said. “All of a sudden we’re back to football and you realize what it was like not too long ago when there wasn’t a whole lot of football around here.
“The week gets long and we do what we do. We are creatures of habit, so even though we may not want to turn the game on because of that, eventually you end up turning the games on and end up watching them. I think that kind of gets you going a little bit.’’