Saturday, November 19, 2011
Updated: November 20, 10:32 AM ET
Devin McCourty still doubtful
By Chris Forsberg
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Despite returning to practice Saturday, New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty (shoulder) is listed as doubtful for Monday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Linebackers Brandon Spikes (knee) and Dane Fletcher (thumb) have been ruled out for New England.
Patriots guard Brian Waters (knee), set to face his old team for the first time, and wide receiver Wes Welker (knee) are both probable, while linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, who returned to practice Saturday after missing Friday's session due to illness, is one of 13 listed as questionable.
For the Chiefs, quarterback Matt Cassel (hand) and linebacker Demorrio Williams (groin) are out, while cornerbacks Brandon Carr (ankle) and Brandon Flowers (back), defensive end Glenn Dorsey (knee), and safety Jon McGraw (shoulder) are questionable.
McCourty returned to practice on Saturday for the Patriots, their final session of the week before "Monday Night Football."
McCourty suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday's win over the New York Jets. He missed the first three practices of this week.
In recent weeks, the Patriots have seen injured players (safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Jerod Mayo) return for the final practice of the week, but not play in that weekend's game. McCourty could fall into that category, making it no guarantee that he plays on Monday night, but improving his chances of returning the following week in Philadelphia.
Pats safety James Ihedigbo, who's questionable with a shoulder injury, talked a lot Saturday about battling through, but offered no hints to whether McCourty might be healthy enough to sneak into action Monday night.
As Ihedigbo did when injuries cropped up at the safety position, he said others will be ready to fill his shoes if McCourty can't go.
"That's how it's been all year, guys have to seize the opportunity," said Ihedigbo. "[McCourty is] a phenomenal player, so whatever the case is -- I can't speak for someone else -- if he's up and he's playing, he'll be flying around making plays. If a guy has to step up for him, a guy has to step up. That's what it is in this league."
For a New England team with 18 players on the injury report this week -- including Ihedigbo, who suffered his own shoulder injury against the Jets and has been limited this week in practice -- playing through pain is a necessity.
"At this time of year, you gotta continue to fight," said Ihedigbo. "Everyone in the league is battling something at this time of year. So you really look up to guys that can fight through certain injuries or whatever it might be, to be on the field and playing. You definitely look up to those guys and say, 'You know what, I gotta pick it up even more, when a guy like that is [playing].' "
Chris Forsberg covers the Patriots and Celtics for ESPNBoston.com. Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss and Mike Rodak was used in this report.