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Reports: Patrick Chung out against Bills

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung will not play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills after undergoing thumb surgery this week, according to multiple media reports.

He missed practices Wednesday and Thursday, but Chung was in uniform Friday and headed out to the practice field. He was limited, though, and is officially listed as questionable for Sunday.

As he sprinted through the locker room while reporters were present, he was asked if he has a chance to play Sunday. He smiled and said: "I'm keeping it low."

Chung broke his right thumb in Sunday's win over the San Diego Chargers but returned in the fourth quarter wearing a cast. He had surgery to stabilize the thumb.

According to media reports, Chung is not expected to miss more than this week.

Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, who missed practice Thursday with a back injury, was one of five players not spotted at the start of Friday's session.

He is also listed as questionable and if Haynesworth does not play Sunday, it would thrust second-year player Kyle Love into a top role along the interior of the defensive line.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez (knee) and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back) didn't practice and are ruled out for Sunday.

Others not spotted at Friday's practice were tight end Dan Gronkowski (hamstring) and defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion).

Gronkowski was released later in the day.

Punter Zoltan Mesko tested his injured left knee fully in practice Friday and was listed as questionable.

Mesko, who was injured in the third quarter Sunday when Patriots safety James Ihedigbo was blocked into him, has progressed throughout the week.

Cornerback Devin McCourty touched on Chung's potential absence in an interview with sports radio WEEI Friday morning.

"You know that happens in a season. I think we're prepared for him not to be out there, and guys will have to step up," McCourty told the "Dennis & Callahan" program.

"He's played a lot of plays early in the season for us, and it will be a little different without him. I'm excited just to see guys get that opportunity to step up and play well."

Chung played every snap in the season opener and likely would have played every snap against the Chargers had he not injured the thumb in the third quarter.

McCourty called Chung "one of the most active guys on defense," citing how he makes defensive calls in the secondary, which helps everyone get on the same page.

McCourty pointed to Sergio Brown and Josh Barrett, the next safeties on the depth chart, as those who would need to step up their game.

"They're used to having him out there. You just have to go out there and play without him," McCourty said.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.