New England Patriots' veteran running back Fred Taylor returned to the practice field today, a sign that he could play for the first time since week three. The running back has been battling a toe injury all season.
After a good start to the season against Cincinnati (14 attempts for 71 yards), the back was limited the next two weeks against the Jets and the Bills before ultimately missing the next five games as he worked to get back to full health. A healthy Fred Taylor with fresh legs could be critical for the Patriots down the stretch, as they have struggled to consistently run the ball from game to game.
Although Taylor did return to practice, he cautioned reporters not to jump to any quick conclusions, that he might not play just yet. Still, he did seem relieved to finally be back on the field.
"We'll see how it goes, I'm just happy to get to the point I am," said Taylor. "The last six or seven weeks have been pretty frustrating. Just gotta keep grinding it out."
"The initial prognosis was bad, to the point of tears and all that," Taylor continued, "All the other stuff that comes with it, but I'm here and we'll see how it goes from this point, go from there."
In unrelated news, quarterback Tom Brady was not present at practice. He spoke with reporters earlier in the day, so it looks like Brady is probably getting the usual veterans day off. Of course, expect the national media to run with this one.
Update: Tom Brady reportedly missed practice due to a foot injury. We'll see where this goes, but I see no reason to believe that Brady is in jeopardy of missing a game.
Update #2: It's a foot sprain, according to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. Brady is still expected to play Sunday night.