New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who notoriously often declines to go into details over injuries took an unexpected turn when he voluntarily offered hope regarding defensive end Chandler Jones’ return in Sunday’s AFC title matchup, despite missing most of last week’s playoff game with a thumb injury.
"Danny was examined and back on the sideline for the remainder of the game," Bill Belichick said last Monday. "Had we needed to use him, he would have been available to go back in there.
That optimism seemed to pay off today as Chandler Jones along with running back Danny Woodhead, were listed active by the New England Patriots ahead of Sunday’s AFC title game against the Baltimore Ravens. Danny Woodhead too exited last week’s AFC Divisional Championship game against the Houston Texans early due to an ankle injury, but made was also active against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
The five-year pro Danny Woodhead injured his left thumb while carrying the ball on the New England Patriots’ first snap of the 41-28 playoff win over Houston Texans. Bill Belichick said even if Danny Woodhead had been cleared by the medical staff, the coaching staff would make the final call whether it will be in the 27-year-old’s better interest to play in the AFC title game.
Second-year running back Shane Vereen took over for Danny Woodhead against the Houston Texans, tallying 124 yards from scrimmage and scoring three touchdowns in the game.
Meanwhile Chandler Jones, exited the game with only two tackles after suffering an ankle injury in the AFC Divisional round.
But both returned for the AFC title rematch against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
The New England Patriots’ list of seven injured players for the AFC title game was quite predictable.
Wide receiver Kamar Alken, cornerback Malcolm Williams, safety Derrick Martin, defensive linemen Marcus Forston and Jake Bequette, as well as offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Marcus Zusevics all made the inactive list.
For the Baltimore Ravens, linebacker Adrian Hamilton, wide receiver Deonte Thompson, offensive lineman Harewood, defensive backs Asa Jackson and Omar Brown, as well as defensive linemen Bryan Hall and DeAngelo Tyson were sidelined with injuries.
Meanwhile, running back Bernard Piercem linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and fullbacl Vonta Leach, who had been listed as questionable only Friday made it back from their injuries for the rivalry game against the New England Patriots.