Patriots Notes: Smith Has Injured Ankle

With the way the Kansas City Chiefs ran the ball on the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots Antowain Smith has a sore ankle and his status for Sunday's AFC Championship game is in question.

G Damien Woody - has what Belichick described as a sore leg that will be evaluated during the week. Woody injured the leg in the first quarter, but returned to action before leaving the game for good in the second half. He didn't finish the regular season finale against Buffalo because of a leg injury - presumably the same one. Russ Hochstein stepped in for Woody and fared OK. The Patriots didn't allow a sack on 41 pass attempts and ran the ball reasonably well against the league's top-ranked run defense.

RB Antowain Smith - said that his injured ankle was "alright" after the game before reminding reporters that he is not permitted to speak about injuries. Smith has hit stride of late. He rushed for 195 yards in the Patriots last two regular season games on 33 carries and picked up 69 yards on 16 attempts against the Titans. His status for Sunday is unknown.

TE Daniel Graham - struggled Saturday night. He committed the Patriots' lone turnover when he fumbled near midfield and then later dropped a perfectly thrown pass down the middle at the Titans' 4-yard line on what ultimately was the game-winning field goal drive. But that catch would have given the Patriots a first-and-goal situation with about 4:00 remaining in the game.

"I don't think confidence is a problem," Belichick said. "I am sure that every player that played in the game is going to look back on that one and see some plays that they thought they did well on and others that they would like to have back. That goes for everybody." But Graham has had a problem with dropped passes all season and his confidence, and perhaps quarterback Tom Brady's confidence in him, has to be waning. He could be a significant weapon deep down the middle against the Colts cover-two scheme, but only if Brady throws to him and he can catch it.

S Eugene Wilson - will be studying a lot of film this week. The Colts targeted Wilson in the first meeting and torched him for a couple of touchdowns using nifty double moves at the back of the secondary. The Patriots will clearly be trying to prevent Indy from making big plays and scoring quickly so look for Wilson to keep everything in front of him this week.

DL Richard Seymour - had five tackles against Tennessee, but his biggest play came when he burst through the Titans' field goal protection and blocked a kick that would have cut a 14-7 Patriots lead to 14-10 before the half. It was his second blocked kick of the season. "He is 6-foot-6 with long arms and he is very powerful," Belichick said. "That's a good combination. I am sure when you look at the field goal blockers through the years, you will find some of the common traits being their quickness off the ball, their power and explosion and either their height, arm reach and/or timing."

K Adam Vinatieri - has apparently been bothered by back pain over the past several weeks according to published reports. Safety Rodney Harrison credited Vinatieri Saturday night for playing through the pain. Vinatieri has missed a career-high 10 field goals this season, but did hit a 46-yard game-winner against Tennessee.

LB Willie McGinest - was added to the Pro Bowl roster, his second career trip to the NFL all-star game, but this trip comes eight years after the first. He replaced Peter Boulware on the AFC roster. McGinest, 32, has been a big-play machine this season and finished with 5.5 sacks, 79 tackles and an interception that he returned 15 yards for a touchdown.

"The trophy. We want to be the last team standing. I saw 60,000 people sitting up there and their benches weren't heated. That was enough motivation for me to play." -- Linebacker Tedy Bruschi on what motivates him.

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