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    Dont’a Hightower a ‘game-time decision’

    Dont’a Hightower
    Barry Chin/ Globe Staff
    Dont’a Hightower scooped up a fumble during the Patriots victory against the Titans earlier this year.

    Patriots rookie linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who injured his hamstring Sunday at Buffalo and had limited participation in Thursday’s practice session, said he was feeling better, but would likely be a “game-time decision” for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.

    “Right now it’s going to be a day-to-day thing,’’ Hightower said before Friday’s practice at Gillette. “It’s going to be up to Jimbo [trainer Jim Whalen] and coach [Bill] Belichick, but each day I’m feeling better and moving around great, so it’s going to be a game-time decision. It’s going to be up to them.’’

    Asked if he was frustrated about getting hurt in a game in which the Patriots recorded six turnovers against the Bills, Hightower said, “Obviously, any time you get hurt you try to do everything you can to prevent that.


    “It was definitely hard going down,” Hightower said. “But Tracy White did a real good job of stepping in and doing my job and definitely well-prepared, he’s a great player. Rob [Ninkovich] and everybody else did a great job of picking up where I left off, so hopefully I’ll be able to get out there this weekend so I don’t have to go through that.”

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    When asked if it was his call to make, would he be likely to play, Hightower replied, “Like I said, it’s up to coach [Belichick]. If he feels I can go, then I’m going to be out there and doing everything I can. But there’s no pain. I’m out there running around and doing everything I can, so what can I say? It’s a day-to-day thing.”


    Aaron Hernandez was again at practice on Friday, which was being held inside Gillette Stadium on a sunny, warm day. The Patriots were without receiver Julian Edelman, safety Steve Gregory, and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.

    Players were in shorts and shells, meaning they’ll face the Broncos on Sunday without the benefit of a full-pads practice.


    Whether Hernandez plays against Denver remains to be seen. He returned to the practice field for the first time on Thursday after he injured his right ankle in the home opener Sept. 16 against Arizona.

    Michael Whitmer contributed