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"Don't worry" about LaFell injury; Jan. 8 notes

News from Patriots practice and player interviews.

When he went down in the fourth quarter of the regular season finale, it looked like Brandon LaFell had injured an ankle. Turns out, it was a toe, as this week's injury report revealed.

The veteran receiver was able to return to that game against Buffalo, but sat out the next two practices before New Year's, and has resumed training on a limited basis this week. LaFell did his best to reassure fans and other observers that he'll be ready to suit up this Saturday when his Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Playoff.

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"I'm doing great, man. I'm doing great," he insisted. "Resting my body up a little bit."

So, no need to hold our collective breaths?

"No need to hold their breaths on me. I'm fine," LaFell maintained, "but also we got guys like Brian Tyms, Josh Boyce, we got [Julian Edelman], we got [Danny Amendola]. Guys that have played ball around here for a long time and guys that can make plays. So don't worry about anything."

A toe is bad enough for a player who has to run and cut as much as a receiver, and LaFell is also dealing with a lingering shoulder issue that he sustained against Detroit in November. Not having him in the offense would be significant. LaFell joined the Patriots in the spring as a free agent from Carolina and after a slow start became one of Tom Brady's most reliable targets. Brady often looks to LaFell on first downs to get drives started.

Not helping matters is the extreme cold weather that has gripped the northeast this week – something with which the Houston native who played at Louisiana State is unaccustomed to dealing.

"Man, you've got to give something to lose something," he smiled. "I gave up the hot days in [training] camp in Carolina for the cool [summer] days up here. But now I got this cold, harsh winter and it's a little warmer in Carolina. But hey, man, we're still playing ball and I can't complain.

"I never felt this way. I never looked at the weather and it have one digit on there. I never seen anything like it, but everybody say it's football weather, so let's go play."

Gray's "ready" for Ravens

If any Patriot knows what it's like behind enemy lines in Baltimore, it's RB Jonas Gray. He spent last season on the Ravens' practice squad, but contends he is not using that as added motivation this weekend.

"No, I don't think so. I have a familiarity with the team, the players, but I think that's as far as it goes. In terms of preparing, I prepare like I would have for any game.

"I think everybody's anxious to play," Gray added. "Everybody's anxious to compete. There's been a lot of talk… On our end, all we do is go play, man. We prepare the best we can. We had a good last couple of days and we're trying to finish the week."

Just being in the postseason is motivation enough for the young ball carrier.

"This time of year," he observed, "there's nothing but good teams and good players left, so, you really have to be on top of your A-game, your film study better than you've done any time this entire year. Every play matters.

"We're going to be ready," he promised.

Practice Report

Despite the single-digit temps, as LaFell noted, the Patriots once again practiced outside on the Gillette stadium game field.

And again, all 63 players (including the 10 on the practice squad) suited up in shells (lighter, smaller shoulder pads). The team will conduct a walkthrough session on Friday.

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