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September 20, 2004

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TEMPE, AZ -- It looks like the Patriots may have dodged a bullet.

It was scary scene in the desert on Sunday when wide receiver Deion Branch went down with an apparent leg injury, but it appears New England fans can breathe a sigh of relief.


Wide Recever Deion Branch
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Branch, who led the team in receptions last season, suffered the injury at the end of the half after a Hail Mary attempt in the endzone by quarterback Tom Brady was intercepted by Arizona Cardinals linebacker James Darling.

The third-year receiver was in pursuit of Darling when teammate Stephen Neal upended him after he was pushed from behind while trying to also make a play on the Arizona linebacker.

Branch was then seen writhing in pain on the sidelines and holding his leg, and was attended to by trainers while his teammates looked on. He eventually got up on his own and walked off under his own power and walked to the locker room.

Branch didn't return to the game and wasn't seen on the sidelines after the half.

However Belichick told reporters after the game that Branch could have returned but was simply kept on the sidelines.

"I think Deion is OK,” Belichick told the Boston Herald after the game. "He told me he could have gone back in the game, but I didn't want to put him back in for the second half. We'll know more later, but he was asking to go back in.”

Branch will have plenty of time to recover. The team has a bye week this week and won't play their next football game until October 3rd when they travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills.


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