FOXBORO, Mass. — Could the New England Patriots have Danny Amendola back in the fold in time for the divisional round?
That remains to be seen, but the wide receiver was spotted Thursday in the locker room walking without any kind of boot or brace on his injured right ankle and without a noticeable limp. Obviously, just because a player can walk without support doesn’t mean he’s ready to jump back onto the field, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Amendola suffered the injury — reportedly a high ankle sprain — during New England’s Week 13 win over the Los Angeles Rams and has not played or practiced since. He almost certainly won’t suit up in Sunday’s regular-season finale, but there’s a chance he could be ready to go for the Patriots’ first playoff game, especially since the team will enjoy a first-round bye.
Before his injury, Amendola played in 12 games, caught 29 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns, and was the Patriots’ top punt returner.
Some additional notes from Thursday:
— The Patriots have yet to lose on the road this season. If they beat the Miami Dolphins this weekend at Hard Rock Stadium, they’ll become just the seventh team in NFL history to finish a perfect 8-0 away from home.
A win Sunday also would snap the Patriots’ streak of three consecutive losses in Miami, where they haven’t won since 2012.
“Overall (being perfect on the road) will be a great accomplishment, but I think for us this is a really tough test,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said Wednesday. “We haven’t won down in three years so it’s even bigger than just this year. It’s just trying to go down there and play well. Not winning just shows we just haven’t played well down there.”
New England already has finished with an 8-0 road record once in its history, doing so during its perfect regular season in 2007.
— Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown declined to discuss his unexpected benching when approached by reporters Thursday.
“I really have nothing to say about that whole situation,” the second-year pro said, via ESPN.com. “I just really don’t want to talk about it.”
Brown has started 13 games this season but did not enter Saturday’s win over the New York Jets until the fourth quarter. He played a career-low 16 defensive snaps in the 41-3 victory, with rookie defensive tackle Vincent Valentine starting alongside Alan Branch and playing a career-high 41 defensive snaps.
“Malcom’s had some good moments,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “We’re just looking really for more consistency there.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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