FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Patriots cornerback Tyrone Poole was placed on injured reserve for the second consecutive season Thursday, leaving a roster vacancy for Sunday night’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

The opening could be filled by linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who began practicing last week eight months after suffering a mild stroke. New England must settle on its 53-man roster for Sunday’s game by 4 p.m. Saturday.

Before Bruschi practiced Thursday for the third time this week, coach Bill Belichick said he hadn’t suffered any setbacks.

“He’s done what we’ve asked him to do. I don’t think that he’s had any problem with it,” Belichick said. A decision on when he will play will be made when “we’re sure it’s going to be the right decision,” Belichick said.

Poole, the fourth Patriots defensive back placed on the season-ending injured reserve list, stretched with his teammates at the start of practice Wednesday but wasn’t on the field early in Thursday’s session.

He hasn’t played since injuring his ankle in the season opener against Oakland. Last season he started four of the first five games at right cornerback but played in only one after that before going on injured reserve Dec. 17.

That followed a strong first season with the Patriots when he started all 19 games, including the playoffs, and tied for the team lead with six interceptions. Poole, 33, played with Carolina, Indianapolis and Denver before signing as an unrestricted free agent March 11, 2003.

Besides Poole, cornerback Chad Scott and safeties Rodney Harrison and Guss Scott are on injured reserve.

AP-ES-10-27-05 1721EDT

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