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Patriots' Bruschi leaves with left leg injury

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Dec. 26, 2005) -- Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was helped off the field with a left leg injury late in the first quarter of Monday night's game against the New York Jets.

Bruschi was hurt on a punt, and tried to walk off on his own. But he winced as he put his leg down, and two trainers escorted him to the sideline. The team said he wouldn't return.

The 32-year-old Bruschi was playing in his ninth game since returning to the field following a mild stroke. Bruschi had the stroke in February, days after playing in his first Pro Bowl and 10 days after helping the Patriots win their third Super Bowl in four years. He later had surgery to repair a small hole in his heart.

Although he said he would take a year off, he was put on the reserve-physically unable to perform list, which left open the possibility of a comeback after six weeks.

Bruschi continued to attend team meetings and his recovery went well enough for him to come back early. Doctors cleared him, he returned to practice Oct. 19 and played for the first time against Buffalo on Oct. 30. His return has helped the defense improve immensely, helping the team win the AFC East.

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