New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has provided some additional details on the thumb injury to running back Danny Woodhead:
“Danny was examined and back on the sideline for the remainder of the game. Had we needed to use him, he would have been available to go back in there. Now that we are into a new week, we will re-address the whole situation and try to get a good feel of what he would and wouldn’t be available to do, and how functional he would be doing it. So I would say that’s something we’ll have to look at during the week. Assuming the doctors clear him to play, which is a medical decision, then the next situation would be from a football decision, what can he do and how well can he do it? What is he, and we, comfortable with him doing in this week’s game/game-plan. That would all be determined at a later point in time.”
Woodhead was injured on the opening drive of the Patriots' 41-28 Divisional Playoff Victory over the Houston Texans and did not return.
In his absence, Shane Vereen stepped up as the Patriots' passing back, and ended up breaking out with a tremendous game in which he racked up 124 total yards through the ground and air. Woodhead's potential return next week raises a good question: what do the Patriots do when it comes to playing both him and Vereen?
While Vereen was dynamic in Woodhead's absence, don't forget that Woodhead made a lot of big plays for the Patriots in a lot of dire situations. Ultimately, while Vereen will likely take a chunk of Woodhead's touches going forward, I highly doubt the Patriots will phase Woodhead out completely.