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Sunday, November 8, 2009
Belichick mum on injury to Koppen

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick answered with a big grin but did not provide details when asked about the severity of the knee injury that knocked starting center Dan Koppen out of Sunday's game in the second quarter.

Belichick, who seldom discusses injuries, seemed amused when a reporter asked if he knew how seriously Koppen was injured.

"I just got off the field after the game. All that stuff, it's 24-48 hours anyway before you really know," Belichick said, smiling. "He's a quick healer. He's pretty tough."

Koppen was replaced by four-year veteran Dan Connolly, a versatile player who had previously seen time at center, guard, tight end and fullback in spot duty.

"Connolly has really done a good job for us," Belichick said. "He missed the first couple games of the year, but he's really been a solid guy who has taken a big jump this year in the offseason, training camp and preseason games. He's probably one of our most improved players, and it seems like every time he has a chance to play he does a good job. I think he's getting close to battling for some playing time."

In addition to Koppen, rookie receiver Brandon Tate left the game in the second quarter with what appeared to be a left leg injury. Tate, who did not return, was in the locker room after the game but declined comment.