Patriots

Patriots hit hard by injuries during preseason win vs. Panthers

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USA TODAY Sports

Patriots hit hard by injuries during preseason win vs. Panthers

FOXBORO -- The New England Patriots were unable to escape Thursday night's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers without several players suffering injuries or getting banged up.

Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy was slow to get up in the first quarter after sacking Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Van Noy went into the blue medical tent but came back before the first quarter ended. Nate Ebner was shaken up in the second quarter but returned to the game.

Many other Patriots players weren't as lucky as Van Noy and Ebner.

Tight end Ben Watson was on the receiving end of a late hit delivered by Panthers safety Eric Reid, which drew a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. Watson sat on the ground for a few moments before walking off under his own power. He did not return to the game.

Watson wasn't the only tight end to get banged up. Lance Kendricks was crunched by two Panthers players on a pass play in the fourth quarter and did not play another snap. Tight end Stephen Anderson also left and didn't return. The Patriots already were thin on their tight end depth chart entering Thursday's game.

Rookie running back Damien Harris also didn't return after leaving in the second quarter. The Alabama product had two carries for eight yards before departing. 

Linebacker Brandon King had to be carted off the field in the second quarter after suffering an apparent leg injury. He didn't return. King is an important special teams player for the Patriots, and his absence certainly would be felt if the injury is serious.

Wide receiver Gunner Olszewski was shaken up in the fourth quarter and went to the blue medical tent before heading to the locker room.

Eric Reid anticipating a fine for late hit on Benjamin Watson>>>

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Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson have hilarious Twitter exchange about calves

Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson have hilarious Twitter exchange about calves

Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson are both legends in their respective sports. And on Twitter, the duo recently shared a moment. Of all the things that the moment could've been about, it was calves that brought them together.

On Wednesday, Brady was declared limited at New England Patriots practice with a calf injury. Mickelson, who may have some of the strongest calves of any athlete in any sport, jokingly tweeted he was on standby to fly to Boston, implying that he would help Brady with his calf issue.

Brady responded on Thursday and seemed excited about the possibility of strengthening his calves with Mickelson.

Brady is just kidding and paying homage to Mickelson, but the idea of Brady having "jacked calves" is intriguing. The 42-year-old is always looking for ways to lengthen his career. Perhaps if he could strengthen his calves as Mickelson has, he would be able to better withstand injury and generate power from his lower body as he continues to age more gracefully than any other quarterback in NFL history.

That said, Brady may not need to worry much about his calf this week. He looked to be in good repair at Thursday's practice, so it's possible that the limited designation on Wednesday was just a minor malady that needed some extra rest.

This certainly is a win-win for Patriots fans, as Brady was able to provide fans with a comical moment on social media and looks healthy enough to play on Thursday. Brady will look to lead the Patriots to a 3-0 start on Sunday when they square off against the New York Jets.

Fantasy Football Beat: Can Bill Belichick eliminate Le'Veon Bell?>>>

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Tom Brady (calf) looks good to go after popping up on Patriots injury report

Tom Brady (calf) looks good to go after popping up on Patriots injury report

FOXBORO — Because it’s Tom Brady, any time his name shows up on the injury report it’s worth taking notice. But from what reporters saw at Thursday's Patriots practice, it appears as though there’s not much to worry about when it comes to Brady’s latest ailment. 

Brady was listed as a limited participant during Wednesday’s practice due to a calf injury, but he seemed to be moving without issue at the start of Thursday’s workout. 

Going through the team’s usual stretching routine, Brady moved without a noticeable limp. He also took part in the high-knee portion of the warmup by aggressively churning his legs, not favoring one or the other. Brady jogged at a good pace during the warmup and after the warmup while heading toward one end of the practice field for the next practice period. That was when media availability at the session ended. 

Brady's lower-body health is critical to the success of the Patriots offense. He’s not a threat to run for significant yardage, but his mobility inside the pocket allows the Patriots to avoid negative plays and create scramble-drill opportunities that can lead to big gains. Against the Jets and their blitz-happy coordinator Gregg Williams, it’ll be important for Brady to be able to climb the picket to escape edge pressure or side-step pressure coming from the interior of the Patriots offensive line. 

As the Patriots deal with shuffled personnel on the offensive line — Isaiah Wynn is on injured reserve and Marcus Cannon is dealing with a shoulder injury — Brady may be forced to get himself out of trouble more than he might if he had his full starting offensive line to play behind. 

What reporters saw from Brady on Thursday was brief. But it was encouraging for the Patriots that after being limited 24 hours earlier, the 42-year-old quarterback looked like himself. (The Patriots will release an injury report later on Thursday. Brady would be considered limited again if he took anything less than what’s typically considered a full workload for him.)

The Patriots were without fullback James Develin and outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun at the start of practice. Both missed Wednesday’s workout. Develin is dealing with a neck issue while Calhoun had a non-injury related issue that held him out of the team’s first practice this week. 

Fantasy Football Beat: Can Bill Belichick eliminate Le'Veon Bell?>>>

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