FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Ellis Hobbs has a broken wrist and a desire for a rematch with the team he faced in his impressive NFL starting debut last season.

The injury could keep the Patriots cornerback from fulfilling that wish.

Hobbs said Wednesday he had surgery on his left wrist last week. New England didn’t seem to miss him in last Sunday’s 38-13 win at Cincinnati and plays at home Sunday against Miami.

“It’s just day to day,” Hobbs said of his injury, “getting better.”

In keeping with his practice, coach Bill Belichick gave no details of Hobbs’ injury. He didn’t even say whether Hobbs had surgery.

“Whether they put ice on it or put two ice packs on it instead of one or three instead of two or massage it, that’s the medical treatment,” Belichick said. “I don’t have anything to do with that.”

Hobbs actually had a screw put in his wrist but wouldn’t concede that he won’t play against the Dolphins. He missed at least part of Wednesday’s practice and was listed as questionable on the injury report, meaning there’s a 50-50 chance he’ll play.

Linebacker Tedy Bruschi returned to a game five weeks and four days after having surgery on his broken wrist on Aug. 9.

“Everybody’s different, recovery-wise,” Hobbs said. “I am my own person and, positive thinking for me, I take a lot of pride in that. And I do believe how positive you do think about the situation, the faster you heal.”

Hobbs is fortunate the Patriots have a bye week after Sunday’s game that gives him extra time to get better.

“It’s only a blessing if I take advantage of it,” Hobbs said. “Obviously, I’m not thinking like that. I’m thinking day to day and whatever happens we go on from there.”

He cracked a bone in the first quarter of a 17-7 loss to Denver when he was going across the middle in coverage and hit his wrist on a teammate’s shoulder pad. He played the rest of the game, trying not to think of the pain.

Hank Poteat started in his place last Sunday and Chad Scott also filled in. Scott finished with six tackles, tied for second most on the team. But with Hobbs and safety Eugene Wilson having been sidelined for the game against Cincinnati, the Patriots on Wednesday signed free agent cornerback Chidi Iwuoma, who spent the last four seasons with Pittsburgh, primarily as a special teams player.

Hobbs, a third-round draft pick last year out of Iowa State, got his first NFL start in the ninth game last season and started the final eight regular season games plus the Patriots two playoff games. In his first start, he had eight tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception in a 23-16 win at Miami.

Hobbs is eager for a rematch with the Dolphins and wide receivers Chris Chambers, Marty Booker and Wes Welker.

“It’s a good group. They have a lot of receivers that are (deep) threats,” Hobbs said. “They have a quarterback that can get it to them now that’s mobile.”

Daunte Culpepper has completed more than 10 passes to each of them but also has been sacked 21 times in four games. The possible absence of Hobbs and his coverage skills could put more of a burden on defensive linemen to pressure Culpepper.

Hobbs’ emergence as a productive starter last season was somewhat of a surprise. He played in every game and shared the team lead with three interceptions. Now he’s working to get back onto the field.

“It’s frustrating because you feel like you’ve been making your steady climb and then you just run into a wall,” Hobbs said. “It’s just one of those things where it defines your character. What are you going to do now? I don’t look at it as a bad thing. I look at it as it’s going to make me stronger.”


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