Prepare for something wild here. We’re going to lead an injury update post with a player who isn’t named Rob Gronkowski.
There weren’t any practices Tuesday because it’s a normal off day for players before the usual Wednesday-to-Friday practice grind starts, and because they were far too busy answering questions from Mexican girls wrapped in tight red dresses. So there also wasn’t an official injury report, but we were still given a steady diet of updates from coaches and players.
One of those bits of information that came trickling came pretty close to confirming the playing status of Sebastian Vollmer, an important Patriots offensive lineman who hasn’t played since late November due to foot and back injuries. An offensive line that’s at full strength will be vital during New England’s effort to contain or at least limit a Giants’ pass rush that has registered nine sacks over three post-season games, and finished tied for second with 48 during the regular season.
Vollmer practiced yesterday, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that he continued to progress smoothly, and there’s a possibility he’ll play Sunday. Now it seems Vollmer’s status has gone from possibly to definitely, although his level of participation is still uncertain.
Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia told WEEI that Vollmer will indeed be ready.
“He’ll play. He’ll play in this game at some point, whether we have Nate Solder outside or him at tackle. He’s going to be out there, and thank God we’ve got him.”
Another important tidbit surfacing from the Patriots’ camp was word that third-string running back Stevan Ridley would return from his one-game exile. Ridley, a rookie selected in the third round last spring, was effectively fulfilling his role as a change-of-pace runner behind Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, especially over the final three games of the season when he rushed for 210 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
But Ridley then began to look like a rookie running back, fumbling in each of his last two games. Unlike Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco with Kyle Williams, Belichick had the option to bench a rookie in the conference championship game that he didn’t fully trust, so Ridley was inactive against Baltimore.
The former LSU standout said that’ll change Sunday, and he’ll be in uniform for the Super Bowl.
Look, that’s nearly 400 words, and only one of them was “Gronkowski”. That’s because despite the expected Media Day buzz around the most popular ankle in Indianapolis, little has changed since this morning when Gronk first walked out onto the field without his walking boot.
He’s still using very Belichikian phrases like “day-to-day,” saying that by game day he could be 100 percent, or just two percent. That’s a difference of 98 percent. We counted.