New England had two late additions to its injury list, the bigger being wide receiver Terry Glenn, who is questionable for this weekend after he tweaked his hamstring early in practice Thursday. The other was cornerback Terrance Shaw who also is questionable with the flu.
Glenn said he was going to give practice a shot Friday, and Head Coach Bill Belichick said the injury was not "a 9-1-1 emergency.
"Terry's leg tightened up a little bit on him in practice yesterday," Belichick said. "When Terry came in last week, we tried to work him in situationally. Until a player gets himself fully acclimated, we have to manage it as it goes."
Glenn had a big impact in his return, catching seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Whether he plays will be a game time call.
If Shaw is unable to go, it would be less of a loss for the team. The veteran was worked into the secondary rotation more often in the last couple games, but he has been behind in adapting to a new system. The team also has rookie Leonard Myers back for the Colts game, so depth won't be a problem. Myers missed the last two games with the flu himself.
Chinks in the armor
Last season Indianapolis used a total of 13 different starters. All 13 players were healthy for the entire season, with the only lineup changes resulting from different formations the Colts opened with.
The Colts are actually banged up and could be without several key players Sunday. Wilkins, the team's third receiver and kick returner, is questionable with a chest injury. Fellow wide receiver Jerome Pathon is out with a foot injury. He hasn't played since the first meeting with New England, and his absence adds pressure on rookie Reggie Wayne who made his first career catch last week against Oakland.
The Indy offensive line could be weakened as well. Both tackles, Tarik Glenn and Adam Meadows are questionable for shoulder and ankle/hamstring injuries respectively.
The rest of the Colts injuries have linebacker Sean Harris out with a neck/shoulder problem, defensive back Nick Harper questionable with a groin injury and defensive end Mark Thomas probable, also with a groin injury.
Moving things indoors
In effort to better prepare his team for the Dome atmosphere in Indianapolis this Sunday, Belichick had his team in the practice bubble.
Noise has been pumped into the bubble during practices in effort to simulate the loud conditions the Patriots will be up against Sunday. Of course, the best way to keep the place quiet is to avoid giving up big plays to the likes of wide receiver Marvin Harrison.
A year ago Harrison burned the Patriots for big receptions, but New England has done a decent job of avoiding the big play. Through Week Five the Patriots are tied for second in the league for fewest plays of 20 yards or more allowed with just 12. Baltimore has allowed a league-low 11.
Sunday will be the Patriots first game on turf this season. While the game planning is not greatly affected by the playing surface, practicing on it does help.
"We've been indoors for the first time all year," Belichick said. "I don't think you ever really want to be on the turf, especially hard turf. Given all the factors in preparation for this game, I thought it was the best thing we could do."
The focus of practice this week has been special teams play, where the team was dreadful against San Diego. Kick return Ronney Jenkins averaged 30.6 yards on seven returns, and Tim Dwight had a 26-yard punt return.
Terrance Wilkins already has a punt return for a touchdown this season, but he is questionable for the game. Even if Wilkins doesn't go, New England needs better coverage in the kicking game.
"This week te biggest emphasis for us, compared to normal, was on special teams," Belichick said. "We spent more meeting time, time in walk-throughs and time in practice on the kicking game. If it pays off, the week will be worth it."
Running back Antowain Smith has enjoyed playing Indianapolis throughout his career. In the first meeting this year he gained 94 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns, giving Smith 10 rushing touchdowns in eight games against the Colts. In his other 54 games he has 20 touchdowns. Smith has scored rushing touchdowns in three straight games, tied for the second-longest active streak.… Wide receiver Troy Brown leads New England with 31 catches for 373 yards. His catch total ranks second in the conference and fourth in the NFL… Second-year quarterback Tom Brady has 114 career passes without an interception. Including his two preseasons, Brady has thrown nearly 200 times without a pick.