FOXBORO, Mass. — It's been seven years since Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty has missed a game due to injury, so he's been itching to get back onto the field.
McCourty has missed two games with a shoulder injury that he suffered during a collision with safety Sterling Moore against the Jets, and he wouldn't commit to a timetable for a return. However, he spoke to a large gathering of media Friday, which is typically a sign in New England that a player is very close to getting back on the field. He has also participated in the Patriots' last seven practices, and he has worked hard to test his shoulder during those sessions.
"It feels a lot better," McCourty said. "It's getting better. I'm hoping that each day when I wake up, I move it around a little bit and it feels better than it did yesterday."
"That's when I'm hoping it feels the best," McCourty responded, "but we'll see."
Prior to this, McCourty hadn't missed any action since he injured his hip during his senior year of high school, and that forced him out of two games.
"You hate it," McCourty said of missing time. "You don't like to [not] be a part of it [on game day], especially when you know how it feels and you watch it on TV. All you do is think about being out there, but sometimes, that's all you can do."
McCourty said he wasn't even angry with Moore's hit because the two also collided with Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who dropped a pass during the play (Moore, though, did draw a very questionable personal foul penalty on the play). McCourty understood Moore was just trying to make a play.
The Patriots have gotten by due to some more consistent play from cornerback Kyle Arrington, and Antwaun Molden, Phillip Adams and Julian Edelman also stepped up at the position.
But if McCourty can return Sunday against the Colts, the defense would undoubtedly get a boost with its Pro Bowler on the field.
"Devin is a great player," linebacker Jerod Mayo said. "He's been good for us. Just having him back there as far as making plays and just the communication in general is going to be huge for us. If he's able to go, we're ready for him."