FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) – Michael Vick is expected to start against New England this week after an MRI confirmed Monday that he did not seriously injure his right knee Sunday in Atlanta’s victory over Minnesota.

“It confirmed that it was just a mild sprain of his MCL, and he is day-to-day,” coach Jim Mora said. “That ought to put that to rest for a least two or three minutes from now when someone asks another question about it.”

Vick was injured when Minnesota rookie defensive end Erasmus James knocked him to the ground and fell on his leg in the second quarter of Atlanta’s 30-10 win.

Matt Schaub replaced Vick and played the rest of the game. The Falcons had a two-touchdown lead when Vick walked slowly off the field with a slight limp.

Warrick Dunn’s 37-yard run on Atlanta’s next possession put the Falcons ahead 21-0 and all but eliminated the chance that Vick would return.

“Just because I got injured doesn’t mean that my confidence level is going to go down,” Vick said. “The same thing happened to me against Seattle, and I came back and had one of my best games against Buffalo. Injury doesn’t scare me.”

Vick tweaked his left hamstring at Seattle in Week 2 and left the game on each of the final two drives. The Falcons lost 21-18, but Vick played all four quarters in an eight-point win at Buffalo the following week.

In the last two games, the two-time Pro Bowl selection has completed 21 of 35 passes for 216 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and has run 13 times for 122 yards.

Atlanta (3-1) hasn’t faced New England (2-2) since Nov. 4, 2001. That game marked Vick’s only career appearance against the Patriots. He was a rookie in relief of injured Chris Chandler when he completed just two of nine passes for 56 yards and ran twice for 50 yards as a rookie.

New England, which won 24-10, sacked Chandler six times before knocking him out of the game. Vick was sacked three times for minus-15 yards.

Since Vick missed the first 10 starts of 2003 after breaking his right leg in preseason, the Falcons are 2-11 with other quarterbacks starting. Vick is 28-15-1 in his career, including 2-2 in postseason.

“My feeling about Mike is that, whether he practices or not, he’s going to be fine come Sunday,” Mora said. “Who knows with this kid? He might run out there and start practicing on Wednesday. I wouldn’t put it past him.”


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