FOXBORO, Mass. — Wes Welker's status for the Patriots' preseason game Thursday night in Atlanta remains uncertain, but he hinted Monday that they're still trying to move methodically through the rehabilitation process.
If Welker's post-practice comments were any indication, it sounds like he might not suit up against the Falcons.
"I like to be out there anytime," Welker said. "Anytime I can get out there is going to be a positive. Of course I want to be out there, but we're going to take it slow and make sure we stay on track. We've been good up to this point, and we're just going to keep that going."
Welker has participated in the Patriots' last 15 practices (11 padded, four walkthroughs) and 18 overall, and he has made gradual improvements throughout training camp in his recovery from a torn ACL in his left knee.
It seems as though everything has been mapped out accordingly, from debuting in 11-on-11 drills against the scout-team defense Aug. 3 — his fourth practice in pads — and then playing in 11-on-11s two days later against the first-team defense. It was also a good sign when Welker took part in contract drills against the Saints.
However, he didn’t suit up during last week's preseason opener, a move that was about his rehab schedule and not any type of injury setback. Welker understands that these things take time, and he's as anxious to get out onto the field for his first live game action as anyone else.
"Absolutely, you practice so much and rehab, so to get out there for real game action with the crowd and the stadium, and the adrenaline is kind of going, that’s the type of atmosphere you want," Welker said.
Welker admitted to being frustrated with the knee brace, which has limited his mobility to an extent. But all in all, a reigned-in day on the football field is better than any day in the trainer's room.
"We're still making strides, but at the same time, there's good days and bad days," Welker said. "We're just trying to work through them, get better each day, and it's good to get out here and get reps with the guys and not be stuck somewhere else rehabbing and stuff like that."