One of the biggest questions surrounding the New England Patriots coming out of their Week 14 bye is the injury status of Adrian Phillips. The veteran safety was forced to leave last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills after hurting his knee on a pass breakup in the late fourth quarter, and did not return to the contest.
Phillips did send a promising-sounding Tweet after the game, but there was no reported confirmation that he had avoided serious injury. However, the signs continue to point in that direction with the Patriots themselves giving what looks like an unintentional update on Monday.
When the team’s PR staff released the schedule for Tuesday’s player interviews, Phillips’ name was in the 11 a.m. ET slot. His appearance on that list alone is no proof that he will be able to suit up against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, but it can be seen as an encouraging development: Phillips would not be scheduled to speak to reporters if he had suffered a serious injury last week.
Obviously, though, the first practice of the week later on Tuesday will tell us more about his injury status than any PR release would. Head coach Bill Belichick said so himself during a recent media conference call when asked about Phillips and another injured player, running back Damien Harris.
“We haven’t done anything since [the Bills game], so we’ll see how things are progressing once we get out there,” Belichick said.
The Patriots’ Tuesday practice will be their first such session in more than a week. The team did not practice after its win over the Bills, and gave players off from Thursday through Sunday. They did return to Gillette Stadium on Monday, but did not take to the practice field just yet.
New England will release its first injury report of the week following Tuesday’s session. It will put an official label on Phillips’ injury as well as his level of participation.
Getting Phillips back sooner rather than later would be welcome news to the Patriots top-ranked defense. The 29-year-old is a starter-level player and has thus far been on the field for 82 percent of defensive snaps. Along the way, he has notched four interceptions, a forced fumble and 64 tackles. One of his picks was returned for a touchdown.
The Patriots and Colts will face off on Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET.