Wednesday, January 20, 2016

IR, car windows keep Pats LB roller coaster in motion

Your guess for who starts at linebacker for the New England Patriots Sunday is as good as ours.

Injuries have followed the unit into the postseason, and starters Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo and Dont'a Hightower all missed time in last week's win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

One thing that is certain for Sunday is that Mayo will not be an option, as the 29-year-old was put on Injured Reserve Wednesday due to a shoulder injury. That's on top of fellow 'backer Jonathan Freeny playing with a broken hand.

Then Wednesday, it was revealed that Darius Fleming, who filled in for his ailing teammates and was actually handling the play-calling duties at one point, played with 22 stitches in his leg after kicking through a car window to rescue a woman from a burning car.

Where's the good news, you ask?

Well besides losing Mayo, it looks as if all four of the other aforementioned players are on track to play in some capacity this weekend.

According to Doug Kyed of, each player practiced Wednesday, which is a good sign considering the circumstances.

As for Fleming, he said dealing with the stitches wasn't a big deal.

"I didn't think about it too much," he said via "Obviously, you've got stitches in your leg so it's kind of on your mind but I was just excited to play.

"The first thing that came to my mind was, 'Damn, my leg is cut up pretty bad,' so I wasn't sure how that would affect me or my game but I was fine."

Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily