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Wrist injury sidelines Patriots LB Bruschi

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Aug. 2, 2006) -- New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi missed his fourth consecutive practice because of what coach Bill Belichick termed a "probably" sore wrist. Bruschi is listed as day-to-day.

The extent of the injury is unclear, but the Boston Herald reported that the wrist might be fractured and Bruschi would be sidelined at least a week while the team determined the severity of the injury.

The 33-year-old Bruschi missed the first six games last season after suffering a mild stroke 10 days after the Patriots' 2005 Super Bowl victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bruschi returned in late October and helped lead the Patriots to a third consecutive division title. He shared the Comeback Player of the Year award last season with Carolina receiver Steve Smith.

While acknowledging his value to the defense, Bruschi's teammates said they have to soldier on.

"We have to keep rolling," nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. "Whatever his situation is, I'm sorry, but we have to keep rolling. We have a season to play. Hopefully, he'll be back when he's ready."

Bruschi's absence might force linebacker Mike Vrabel to shift back inside, as he did last season. Vrabel had been playing outside in training camp with Monty Beisel paired with Bruschi inside.

Bruschi set a physical tone to this camp early on by delivering big hits to rookie running back Laurence Maroney on back-to-back days.

"He's an energetic, enthusiastic player," Belichick said of Bruschi. "I think that is infectious to other players on the team."

Bruschi also injured his calf last season and missed the regular-season finale and the playoff opener against Jacksonville.

Quarterback Tom Brady also missed three consecutive practices on July 30-31. He returned to practice Aug. 1 and wore a brace on his left knee today. Brady said the brace was precautionary.

The Associated Press News Service

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