Getting to know Nick McDonald

Mike Reiss/ESPN Boston

Interior lineman Nick McDonald inside the Patriots' locker room.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In an unusual scene, practice squad center/guard Nick McDonald drew a large media crowd around his locker Friday.

Practice squad players usually don't generate such attention, but the Patriots are banged up along the line and some reporters were anticipating McDonald (6-4, 316) would earn a promotion.

"You have to prepare like that every single week," McDonald told reporters when asked if he was getting ready. "Every practice squad guy gets reps and we all have to know exactly what the starters are doing, because you never know when your number is going to be called and when you'll be called up."

The Patriots plan to promote McDonald today, according to a source.

McDonald has overcome obstacles to make it to this point, as his mother passed away from cancer when he was 14. He points to Gail Joseph, a family friend who took him after his mother's death, as an inspiration in his life.

Here are a few more things to know about McDonald, who wears No. 65 (good bio here):

1. Attended Grand Valley State.

2. Named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year as a senior.

3. Played guard and tackle in college before switching to more of a guard/center role in the pros.

4. Undrafted in 2010, he made the Packers' 53-man roster as a free agent.

5. Was inactive for all 20 games in '10 in what was essentially a red-shirt year with the Packers.

6. Waived by the Packers at the end of 2011 training camp and signed with Patriots practice squad.

7. Attended Henry Ford High School in Sterling Heights, Michigan.