By: Ian Logue/
September 25, 2002

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FOXBORO, MA -- After the first two games, many said that if the Patriots could stay healthy they could have a shot at repeating as champions.

After game three it appears they'll have to see if they can also win with guys banged up after the team released the list of guys who suffered injuries during last Sunday's 41-38 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Eight players were listed as questionable on the team's injury report on Wednesday.  Joe Andruzzi (knee), Troy Brown (knee), Tedy Bruschi (shoulder), David Givens (leg), Rick Lyle (back), Willie McGinest (arm), Roman Phifer (leg), Damien Woody (leg) round out the list of players among the walking wounded, with Andruzzi likely being the one most up in the air after suffering a tear of the left meniscus in his knee and a bone bruise in Sunday's win over the Chargers. Bruschi was inactive last week after suffering a setback from a shoulder injury he sustained during their week two win over the Jets, and Phifer is still battling a hamstring injury that has kept him out since their win over the Steelers two weeks ago.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick simply felt that they'll evaluate each player in practice on Wednesday, saying that most of the guys may be "game-time" decisions.

"[The injury report]'s a little bit longer than usual this week unfortunately," said Belichick during his press conference on Wednesday.  "I think most of those guys probably have a real good chance of coming down to the wire [as a] game-time type of decision or a weekend decision. We'll just have to see how it goes. I think they've all got a shot but we've got a ways to go too."

"Overall that list of guys, it's a pretty tough group. They've been in the training room, they've been getting a lot of treatment, and I think they're doing all they can to get ready. So hopefully as many as possible can come around."

Being listed as "questionable" generally means a player has a 50% chance of being ready to play.  In the event any of those listed fail to show their coach they're ready to go prior to the team leaving on Friday, with this week's game being in San Diego Belichick said it's doubtful they'd take the risk of making them fly.

"If we don't think that the player would be able to play, then to put a guy flying back and forth cross-country in three days, I doubt that would really be a good remedy for any player's condition," said Belichick. "Most likely what we would do is leave that player behind and let him get the extra time in treatment and rehabilitation."

"If we thought that there was an opportunity for the player to play then we probably would take them and go down to the wire with it and see how it turned out over the weekend."

With so many of his players banged up, Belichick and his coaching staff will need to figure out which bodies to fill into their offensive and defensive packages.  The frustrating part of that equation will likely be the ones who are left as "game time decisions", as they will have been unable to possibly get the necessary reps in practice while the coaching staff gives those reps to someone else.

"The guys that can't practice, the other people are going to have to take reps for them," said Belichick.  "We'll just have to see how those guys come along, whether they can do anything tomorrow or do anything on Friday."

"We're going to have to make some decisions here probably after practice today and then after practice on Thursday as to how likely we think it will be for certain guys to play.  [We'll see] how that affects, you know we have a lot of different packages both on offense on defense, different personnel combinations and that may affect how much we want to use or even prepare to use certain ones of those groups."

Belichick said he wasn't sure who would or wouldn't be able practice.

As for the Chargers one of the most notable names on their injury report was linebacker Junior Seau who was listed as "probable" (75% chance he'll play) with an ankle injury.  CB Davis Sanchez (Low Back) joins him as "probable", with FS Rogers Beckett (Ankle), WR Reche Caldwell (Hamstring), SS Rodney Harrison (Groin), T Vaughn Parker (Groin), and T Sammy Williams (Hamstring) listed as "questionable" for Sunday's game.


Belichick said that his team will need to avoid Sunday's 12 penalty performance.  "I think it's concentration and judgment," said Belichick. "It hurt us, it kept us from having any kind of production, it hurt our field position and it won't be good if we keep doing that.".....Is the team possibly looking ahead to next week's game against Miami?  Not according to Belichick.  "Right now we don't care anything about Miami," said Belichick. "All we care about is the Chargers.  If you don't take care of business they've got all the guys that can hurt you."  San Diego is currently 3-0.