Injured players returning to action

January, 8, 2013
When the Patriots and Texans kick off this Sunday in divisional-round action, each team will be in better shape from a health standpoint than when the teams last squared off Dec. 10.

Here's an overview of the notable players who missed that game due to injury.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski: The Patriots put up four passing scores in Week 14 without Gronkowski, but the third-year tight end brings a dynamic option back to his offense. He scored a touchdown in his return to action in Week 17 following a broken forearm that sidelined him for five games.

Right tackle Derek Newton: Similar to how Patriots second-year tackle Nate Solder stepped in to replace a longtime regular on the line in 2012, Newton filled the void created by Eric Winston, who left via free agency last offseason. The second-year pro brings stability to his side of the line.

Linebacker Brooks Reed: The Texans are well-stocked with pass rushers, but Reed was nonetheless missed back in Week 14. He made his presence felt during the wild-card round, notching a sack and three tackles.

Tight end Garrett Graham: Both teams like to run multiple tight end sets, and Graham is a key cog for Houston as a depth-level player. He caught three passes in the wild-card game, and is healed from a concussion that kept him out of Week 14.

Cornerback Alan Ball: A key on special teams, Ball comes back from a foot injury that held him out the last time these two teams met.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?