FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Patriots defensive stalwarts Willie McGinest and Richard Seymour missed at least part of practice on Wednesday.

The probably won’t miss the game in Denver on Sunday.

For the first time this season, New England had fewer than eight players listed as questionable on the regular Wednesday injury report. In fact, it had none.

Of course, the Patriots already have lost safety Rodney Harrison for the season with a knee injury and two players for long stretches – offensive tackle Matt Light with an ankle injury and running back Kevin Faulk with a foot injury.

On Wednesday, cornerback Chad Scott’s shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve, sidelining him for the season, and the Patriots signed former Miami Dolphins defensive back Arturo Freeman.

The injury report can change later in the week, but Seymour and McGinest were among 15 players listed as probable, meaning they almost certainly will see normal duty. Seymour missed last Sunday’s 31-28 win in Atlanta with a knee injury, and McGinest, who media reports said broke his right hand in that game, was listed with a finger injury.

“Willie can go out there without a lower half of his body and I think be better than most guys in this league,” inside linebacker Monty Beisel said, “so I’m expecting him to go out there and play really well.”

Coach Bill Belichick frowns on sharing more information on injuries than the NFL requires in the injury reports and his players generally follow his lead.

Linebacker Mike Vrabel nodded to his left when asked Wednesday what he expected from the injured McGinest against the Broncos.

“His locker’s right over there,” Vrabel said. “You’re more than welcome to go ask Willie.”

But McGinest wasn’t in the locker room during the 40 minutes when it was open to the media. Neither was Seymour. Both of them, plus running back Corey Dillon and wide receiver Troy Brown, were not at the first 21 minutes of practice when reporters and photographers were allowed to observe.

Cornerbacks Tyrone Poole and Randall Gay did participate at the start of practice. Poole has been sidelined the last four games and Gay the last three.

A win at Denver would send the Patriots into their bye week with a 4-2 record, not bad considering that four of those games are on the road and that they lost Harrison, the hard-hitting key to their pass defense, early in the third game.

“After this week, maybe we get some guys back healthy,” quarterback Tom Brady said. “But, in the meantime, you have to play one of the best teams in the league with exactly what we’ve got.”

Dillon rushed for a season-high 106 yards against Atlanta but left the field late in the game. He returned in time to see Adam Vinatieri’s winning 29-year field goal with 17 seconds left. He’s listed as probable with an ankle injury and walked without a limp in the locker room on Monday.

The Patriots have plenty of outstanding starters and talented backups who can perform well at a moment’s notice.

“You could put your team out there and something could happen to anybody on the first play of the game.” Belichick said. “What are you going to do, Well, this guy is out so we can’t do any of those things anymore?’ “

The Patriots do make adjustments to deal with injuries – dropping a linebacker to help defensive backs, playing a 4-3 defense instead of a 3-4 if they’re short on linebackers.

“Andre Tippett’s not playing from 10 years ago.” Beisel said of the Patriots star linebacker who retired after the 1993 season. “Guys that haven’t suited up and haven’t played this year, they’re not there. They’re not the guys we have to depend on. And until they come back, we can’t depend on them.”

AP-ES-10-12-05 1840EDT


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