The New England Patriots are preparing for a huge Monday Night Football matchup with the Carolina Panthers this week, and it appears that they are finally where they want to be at, in terms of health. According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, the only player not at practice today was safety Steve Gregory. That does not come as a surprise, due to the broken thumb that Gregory suffered last week against Pittsburgh.
The more important thing to take away from this, is nearly everybody that has a chance of playing in Monday Night’s game, was at practice. Aqib Talib, who has missed the past three weeks because of a hip injury, was on the field, Rob Ninkovich, who suffered a foot injury last week was present, and Shane Vereen, the explosive third down back is finally available to play in this weeks’ contest. Vereen broke his wrist back in week one versus Buffalo, and the Pats elected to place him on the injured reserve list, with the designation of being able to return in week 11. Vereen totaled 159 offensive yards his last time out, and given the talent level of the Panthers front seven, the addition of Vereen would really help New England’s offense get going.
Obviously none of this guarantees that the injured Patriots will be on the field Monday, but showing up at practice is a telling sign in Foxboro, which hopefully will allow these guys to make an appearance in Carolina.