FOXBOROUGH - Each morning when Devin McCourty wakes up, he braces for the feeling in his shoulder.
Ever since the cornerback separated his shoulder in a collision with teammate Sterling Moore Dec. 12 against the Jets, McCourty said he has been working diligently to get back on the field. He is listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Colts, but yesterday he said he senses improvement every day.
“It feels a lot better and it’s getting better and I’m hoping - each day when I wake up I move it around a little bit and it feels better than it did [the previous] morning,’’ McCourty said.
As for tomorrow, McCourty said, “That’s when I’m hoping it feels the best, so we’ll see.’’
For the first time since McCourty was in high school, he missed a game because of injury. He has now missed two, which is not an ideal situation for a depleted secondary.
“No player wants to miss games and sometimes you have to, but I’m just trying to still be a presence here, coaching guys up and mainly just trying to get healthy - any treatments, anything I can do to try to get back and work on getting healthy again,’’ McCourty said.
Moore apologized for injuring McCourty, when the pair collided while breaking up a pass to Plaxico Burress. McCourty said there were no hard feelings.
“He came down and he tried to make a play and it was an incomplete pass, so I told those guys as long as the receiver doesn’t catch it, I’m all for it,’’ McCourty said. “Friendly fire sometimes.’’
With McCourty out, the Patriots have been relying on Antwaun Molden, who suffered a concussion last week against the Eagles and is questionable for tomorrow.
The Patriots added eight-year veteran Nate Jones to the secondary Wednesday. Jones has played both safety and corner in an NFL career that has included stops in Dallas, Miami, and Denver.
Jones is confident he can play wherever the Patriots need him, but he’s cramming to learn the system.
“It is a challenge but that’s not an excuse,’’ Jones said. “They brought me in here to help this team. I can’t sit around and lollygag, I have to get right into it. I’m in overdrive right now.’’
With all the players the Patriots have moved in and out of the secondary, McCourty said the unit has handled the pressure well.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys that work hard and try to get better each day and I think that shows,’’ McCourty said. “Guys might not be big names to everyone else outside this building, but we don’t worry about that. Guys get better, they compete in practice, and it rolls over to the games. I think when you watch our games you see no matter who’s out there, they’re competing.’’
Offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer is out for tomorrow’s game because of back and foot injuries, according to the team’s injury report.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes (knee) is doubtful and likely will miss his fourth consecutive game since incurring the injury against the Giants Nov. 6.
There are 13 Patriots who are questionable for tomorrow: McCourty, safety Patrick Chung (foot), offensive lineman Dan Connolly (groin), wide receiver Julian Edelman (back), linebacker Dane Fletcher (thumb), linebacker Gary Guyton (shoulder), safety James Ihedigbo (shoulder), Molden (concussion), wide receiver Taylor Price (hamstring), wide receiver Matthew Slater (shoulder), running back Shane Vereen (hamstring), center Ryan Wendell (calf), and running back Danny Woodhead (abdomen).
Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who missed last Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, fully participated in yesterday’s practice and is probable.
Love for Valentine
The newest member of the Boston coaching scene has a little history with Bill Belichick.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and Belichick knew each other when Belichick was with the Jets from 1997-99 and Valentine was manager of the Mets (1996-2002).
“I loved Bobby,’’ Belichick said. “A great guy, a great baseball guy. Loved talking to him. He’s got a lot of energy.
“Don’t get me wrong, I loved [Terry Francona],’’ Belichick said. “But I had a great relationship with Bobby when I was in New York. Bobby, he’s a wonderful guy. I’m looking forward to catching up to him and seeing him.’’
Rookie tackle Nate Solder was slapped with a $7,500 fine by the league for clipping in the victory over the Eagles.
Solder was flagged for the infraction in the third quarter on a play in which Woodhead took a direct snap on third and 4. According to a league spokesman, Solder “struck the opponent from behind and below the waist.’’
Colts running back Joseph Addai (hamstring) popped up on the injury report and is questionable. He did not practice. Center Jeff Saturday (knee) did not practice Wednesday, but fully participated Thursday and yesterday. He also is questionable . . . The Patriots worked out several players, including tight end Dorin Dickerson and quarterback Mike Hartline.