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Patriots Notebook

Welker is doing his best to deal with injuries

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / November 21, 2011

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The Patriots’ Wes Welker was listed on the injury report with a neck issue after Steelers safety Troy Polamalu violently twisted the slot receiver’s head while making a tackle Oct. 30. A big hit by the Giants Nov. 6 resulted in Welker being listed with a rib issue.

Last week, Welker was limited in practice with a knee injury, and he’s been listed as probable on the injury report for tonight’s game against the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

But true to Welker’s style - and coach Bill Belichick’s preference - the receiver hasn’t said much about the problem.

“I feel all right,’’ he said. “I think everybody goes through different things through the season and you just have to manage them and get ready the best you can. [Injuries are] something we really don’t talk about around here. I’m just getting ready for the game.’’

In his fifth season with the Patriots, Welker wasn’t worried that missing some practice time would affect his play.

“I don’t think so,’’ he said. “I’ve been here for a while and understand what the coaches want and what Tom [Brady] wants and understand when it comes to [preparation] we have to take care of our business and be there and play well.’’

There have been concerns that Welker is taking too many hits - he entered Week 11 leading the league in receptions (72) and receiving yards (1,006), and often runs over-the-middle routes that leave him vulnerable to big hits.

Welker is in the final year of his contract, but he said he isn’t thinking about what will happen beyond this season. He has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in four of his five seasons in New England, the first Patriot with more than three 1,000-yard seasons. Stanley Morgan, Troy Brown, and Randy Moss each had three.

History in the making?

With 295 yards tonight, Brady can set a league record for passing yards through the first 10 games. New Orleans’s Drew Brees set the current mark of 3,326 last week. Brady has 3,032 yards through nine games. Both players are on pace to break Dan Marino’s season mark of 5,084, set in 1984 . . . Former Patriots personnel chief Scott Pioli and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel aren’t the only former New Englanders with the Chiefs. Defensive end Anthony Pleasant, who won Super Bowl rings with New England in 2001 and ’03, is the defensive line coach and cornerback Otis Smith, who had two stints with the Patriots, is a defensive quality control coach in Kansas City.

A fine mess

Vince Wilfork and Sterling Moore were flagged for unnecessary roughness during last week’s win over the Jets, but the player who was fined by the NFL for actions in that game was Rob Gronkowski. The tight end was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for his monstrous spike of the ball after his third-quarter touchdown, a penalty that cost New England 15 yards on its ensuing kickoff. But that wasn’t enough for the league - Gronkowski was docked $7,500 for the move.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at

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