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Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Pats' injury concerns at DL, OLB

By Mike Reiss

The Patriots released their first injury/participation report leading into Sunday's playoff game against the Jets and it highlights their primary concerns on the defensive line and at outside linebacker.

Defensive lineman Myron Pryor (back) did not practice today, while outside linebackers Jermaine Cunningham (calf), Tully Banta-Cain (groin) and Eric Moore (hamstring) were all limited.

Pryor projects to be part of a rotation up front. The Patriots have Vince Wilfork and Gerard Warren as sure-fire starters on the line, but will be looking to others to chip in. If Pryor does not play it will thrust others -- such as recently signed Landon Cohen -- into the mix.

At outside linebacker, Cunningham is a starter in the 3-4 alignment. If he doesn't play, that role would likely fall to Banta-Cain if he is healthy.

In a game where stopping the Jets' ground-and-pound approach figures to be a top priority, this is a top area of concern for Bill Belichick and his staff.

Elsewhere, tight end Aaron Hernandez (hip), receiver Deion Branch (knee) and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (shin) were limited in Wednesday's practice.

For the Jets, starting guard Brandon Moore (back) and receiver/returner Brad Smith (groin) did not practice.