Tom Brady (foot) listed as probable
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did not participate in a full practice this week because of a foot injury, but he is nevertheless expected to play Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots listed Brady as probable on their injury report Friday.
On the injury report, the Patriots list a probable designation as a "virtual certainty that the player will be available for normal duty."
Brady's injury was reported by the Boston Globe to be a foot sprain. He's also listed with a right shoulder injury, which has been on the report every week since the start of the season and has not affected his availability.
"I'm ready to play these guys," Brady said in the locker room Friday afternoon, though it appeared he was talking about looking forward to facing the Steelers and not referring to the status of his foot. Watching Brady walk through the locker room, it looked like he was dealing with some discomfort.
Brady was held out of Wednesday's practice, the first session he has missed all season. He was limited in both Thursday and Friday practices, with backup Brian Hoyer seeing an expanded workload.
Elsewhere on the injury report, veteran running back Fred Taylor (toe) was among five players listed as questionable, giving him a 50-50 chance to suit up Sunday night. He participated in the full week of practice without his previously injured toe being an issue, which gives him a good chance of suiting up Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
"There haven't been any setbacks, it's been a productive week, and we'll go from there," Taylor told reporters Friday.
When asked if he's ready to play for the first time since Sept. 26, Taylor directed the question to coach Bill Belichick. He was more expansive when talking about the Steelers' run defense, which ranks first in the NFL with opponents averaging 58.3 yards per game.
"They're a solid defense overall, but against the run, they're definitely stingy," Taylor said. "They've been that way for years. That's a credit to management, the coaches, and the players. You look at that core, that nucleus, they've been together 6, 7 years or longer. I think the teams that keep their core intact that way are the teams that you see statistically at the top, because the players know each other, they vibe off each other. You have to give them credit -- they're at the top every single year."
The other questionable Patriots players are safety Patrick Chung (knee), guard Stephen Neal (shoulder) and defensive linemen Myron Pryor (back) and Mike Wright (groin). Safety Jarrad Page (calf), as expected, has been ruled out.
With Pryor missing the full week of practice, the Patriots' sub rush could be in line for a tweak. Pryor's primary role is to enter the game in passing situations and provide an interior push, most often alongside Mike Wright.
The Patriots will have to consider other options, perhaps giving veteran Gerard Warren a look in that area.
For the Steelers, defensive end Aaron Smith (triceps) is out, while defensive end Brett Keisel (hamstring) and guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee/ankle) are doubtful. Tight end Heath Miller (knee) is among four players who are probable.
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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