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Johnson not yet ready, McGinest probable

The Ted Johnson watch continues in New England. The Patriots linebacker, who's been sidelined with a torn biceps tendon since August, is increasing his practice load in an effort to return before the end of the season. And after the team struggled to stop Jets running back Curtis Martin Monday Night, it looks like the team could use its run-stopping middle linebacker sooner rather than later.

Johnson was at practice Wednesday participating in drills including full speed blocking sled work where he looked strong. Johnson has been rehabbing the biceps under the tutelage of strength and conditioning coach Johnny Parker. Johnson won't be 100 percent if and when he returns, but the strides he's made so far are encouraging.

Defensive end Willie McGinest was hobbling after Monday's game because of a thigh contusion and did not go full speed at practice Wednesday. McGinest briefly left Monday night's game, but did return. McGinest was limping badly in the locker room afterwards, but is listed as probable for Sunday's game in Miami. The short week doesn't help McGinest, but the thigh bruise isn't likely to keep McGinest out in what may be the most important game of the season for the Patriots.

Only two other players appear on the team's injury report. Linebacker Vernon Crawford (knee) and fullback Harold Shaw (quadriceps) are both listed as questionable.

Finally, Tebucky Jones is healthy again and is battling Kato Serwanga for the starting nickel back spot. Serwanga has moved ahead of Jones, but is being pushed.

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