Foxborough, Mass. - Ty Law was upgraded onFriday's official injury report, an indication the veteran cornerback may be close to returning from a broken foot that has kept him out of the lineup for the last seven weeks.
Law was upgraded from doubtful to questionable on the Patriots injury report after the team practiced Friday. Although the team did report Law missed a portion of team practice Friday, it appears Law at least has an outside chance of playing for the first time since he broke a rare bone in his left first during the first quarter against Pittsburgh on Oct. 31.
He has remained optimistic since suffering the injury, saying several weeks ago that he wanted to return before the end of the regular season before a potential playoff run by the Patriots. The latest update from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was that the team hadn't done enough in practice to get a full evaluation on Law.
"We didn't do enough out there yesterday to make a really good evaluation," Belichick said Thursday. "It will probably come down to ... I don't know. We'll just see how it goes and take it day-to-day."
It's a decent bet to believe Law could be a game-time decision when the Patriots meet the Jets Sunday.
The Patriots have been thin in the secondary in the absence of Law, who started the first seven games of the season and recorded 25 tackles, one interception and three passes defended. Cornerback Tyrone Poole was placed on the injured reserve Dec. 18, while rookie Randall Gay and second-year player Asante Samuel, who have started the last two games together, are both listed as questionable on the injury report. Gay, who has started the last seven games, has been battling an arm injury and missed a portion of practice Friday. He left Monday's game against Miami in the third quarter and was replaced by Earthwind Moreland. Samuel has missed three of the last six games with a sore shoulder. The Patriots have played much of the last seven games with wide receiver Troy Brown at slot cornerback, while safety Eugene Wilson has also made two starts at corner.
Much of the Patriots injury report remained unchanged from Thursday. Rookie safety Dexter Reid (shoulder) remains doubtful, while linebacker Matt Chatham (hamstring), running back Kevin Faulk (knee), tight end Daniel Graham (rib) and wide receivers David Givens (ankle) and Bethel Johnson (thigh) are questionable. All of those players missed a portion of Friday's practice. Quarterbacks Tom Brady (shoulder) and Jim Miller (shoulder) remain probable.
The Patriots released safety and special teams player Je'Rod Cherry from the 53-man roster Friday. Cherry, 31, was released during the final roster cuts during training camp before re-signing with the Patriots Oct. 6. He played in 11 games this season, recording 12 special teams tackles. Belichick said the move was made for "flexibility" on the roster, adding "We'll need it one way or another." He also noted the roster spot would remain open for the time being.
"We're going to keep that open," Belichick said. "If it was something we did [leading up to] game-time, it would probably be for a player who would play. It makes no sense to bring someone in and then make them inactive. So it would probably be somebody who could contribute in the game."
Belichick held a 10:45 a.m. press conference Friday before a sparse crowd in the media work room. The press conference took longer than expected, leaving the locker room closed to the press outside of a two-minute walkthrough. ... There is no media access Saturday as the team travels to New Jersey for Sunday's game. ... Belichick noted that because of the schedule of an NFL coach, he "does a lot of gift certificates" during the holiday season. He also took time to note the charity work of players like Joe Andruzzi and Troy Brown. ... Although the Patriots hold a 27-5 record in November and December since 2001, Belichick said what's more important than the late-season record is how the team improves and moves forward from week-to-week. "The only thing that makes any difference is this week and moving forward. It's what you can do from this point forward." ... With offensive coordinator Charlie Weis balancing his current coaching duties at Notre Dame, Belichick described the team's preparation this week as "normal." He said he felt the team was "well-prepared in all three phases of the game" going into Miami.