Safety Patrick Chung Is Patriots’ Latest Victim of Thumb-Injury Epidemic


September 19, 2011

FOXBORO, Mass. — Thumb injuries have spread across the Patriots locker room like the flu.

Linebacker Dane Fletcher was the first player to sport a thumb cast in the preseason, and the injuries have also hit cornerback Leigh Bodden, safety Josh Barrett and safety Patrick Chung. Fletcher and Bodden have ditched their bulky casts, but Barrett still had his Monday and Chung's was still less than a day old.

"It seems to be going around a little bit on the defensive backs," Barrett said Monday. "You're not in there thinking about it at all, but wrapping up, small stuff, it can hinder you from doing. But you've just got to play through it. It's part of the game."

Barrett actually missed a tackle attempt on Ryan Mathews during his touchdown run Sunday, as Mathews eluded Barrett's right side, where his cast was located. So Barrett's quote was actually revealing, particularly if that hindered his ability to make the stop.

Chung injured his thumb during the third quarter against San Diego but returned for the start of the fourth quarter with a hard cast. So far, none of the four injuries have caused any of the players to miss any regular-season games, but it's obviously not an ideal situation.

"You know that it's there," Barrett said. "Obviously, there's a bit of pain involved but guys are out there playing in pain all the time. So you've got to be as physical as you can with it."

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