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Thursday, September 29, 2011
Chung says he'll be ready if needed

By Chris Forsberg

Chris Forsberg/ESPN BostonSafety Patrick Chung talks to reporters on Thursday.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots safety Patrick Chung, held out of last week's loss to Buffalo with a hand injury sustained in a Week 2 win against San Diego, said he's preparing to play in Sunday's visit to Oakland, but that decision will ultimately fall to the trainers and coaching staff.

"It's not my decision, I'm just working hard trying to get out there and help the team," said Chung.

Chung underwent surgery on his right thumb last week and was sporting a protective cast that stabilizes the thumb in the locker room before Thursday's practice. He said injuries like that are part of the game, especially at a corner position where he's constantly reaching and grabbing at opponents, but he wouldn't bite when asked how the malady might limit him in game action.

"I’m not going to answer those questions," he said with a smile ."Those are for Coach [Bill Belichick] and those are for the trainers. I'm just working hard."

The fact that Chung talked with reporters is an encouraging sign about his potential to play Sunday. He was a limited participant in Wednesday's first practice of the week. Chung stressed that he can't simply talk his way into playing.

"No, that’s Coach’s decision, the trainers' decision," he said. "I don’t make those decisions. I’m just going to make sure I’m ready to go."

Chung boasts 13 tackles and a sack in two games this season. The Patriots missed his presence at safety Sunday as Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown struggled at times during the loss in Buffalo. Chung helped the Patriots hold Chargers tight end Antonio Gates without a catch in Week 2 thanks in large part to his shadowing.