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Patriots.com News Blitz - 8/10/2006

In today's news blitz.

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe and John Tomase of the Boston Herald both report that linebacker Tedy Bruschi underwent surgery on his broken wrist yesterday morning at Massachusetts General Hospital. The surgery repaired the scaphoid bone in his wrist.

John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that Patriots players yesterday said that linebacker Tedy Bruschi is in good spirits despite a broken wrist that will sideline him for the rest of the preseason. Bruschi wants to be ready for the regular-season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 10. If he can't go, the Patriots could have an unproven duo in the middle of their defense. The first-team middle linebackers at practice this week have been Beisel and Barry Gardner.

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers an update on safety Rodney Harrison. Reiss writes that Harrison did not participate in the team's second practice yesterday, and since he has yet to work in contact drills, he's unlikely to play in the preseason opener against the Falcons tomorrow night in Atlanta.

Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that the lack of depth currently at the linebacker position may force the Patriots to switch from their bread-and-butter 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 defense.

Felger also offers an article on Patriots running back Kevin Faulk. NFL scouts consider Faulk one of the best receiving backs in the league, and the Pats have long valued him as a two-minute threat. This season, due to a variety of circumstances, Faulk figures to be relied on as a pass-catcher more than ever.

With Deion Branch holding out for the unforseable future, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that Troy Brown is back as the Patriots number one receiver. "I don't get caught up in those numbers," Brown said yesterday. "(No.) 1, 2, 3, whatever. I just want to contribute. That's what it's all about. Just go out there and play. I don't care what I'm labeled, even if it's (No.) 4 or 5. If I'm able to make plays and help us win, I'm going to be happy." Brown is just 20 receptions behind Stanley Morgan for first place on the team's all-time receptions list, and is coming off a 39-catch season.

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that New England will play its first exhibition game tomorrow night without holdout wide receiver Deion Branch, and a thin group of backups in his place. The game should end up being a good indication of how much the Patriots are missing Branch in the line-up.

Eric McHugh of the Patriot Ledger writes that rookie running back Laurence Maroney appears to be the primary candidate to replace departed Bethel Johnson as the team's kick returner. In three seasons at Minnesota, Maroney returned only 28 kickoffs with 16 of those coming as a freshman. Still, he averaged 23.8 yards for his career, including a robust 25.8 yards as a freshman, when he had an 88-yard runback. "I think he'd be a great kickoff-return guy" in the NFL, said Vic Adamle, Maroney's position coach at Minnesota. "He could have been our punt-return guy. He was our emergency punt-return guy. We didn't utilize him as much (there) as we probably should have."

The Boston Herald's Inside Track reports that Patriots cheerleader Michelle Carlucci is vying for the title of "America's Sexiest Cheerleader". You can see her in the September edition of FHM and fans are encourage to cast their vote on FHM's website -- http://fhmus.com/nfl/

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily Patriots blog with notes and quotes. Reiss also offers his latest Patriots mailbag where he answers fans questions.

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