FOXBOROUGH — For the third straight day, rookie center Bryan Stork did not practice with the Patriots at Gillette Stadium and was declared out Friday for Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Colts.
Stork injured his right knee against the Ravens in the second quarter of last Saturday’s 35-31 win, and was also held out of both Wednesday and Thursday’s practices.
With Stork out, Ryan Wendell will slide over from right guard to start at center and Josh Kline will fill in at guard, as he did last weekend.
The Patriots’ offensive line has been through the fire this season, particularly the interior guard and center positions.
At the start of the season, the team tinkered with myriad combinations before finding the right fit in Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Stork, Wendell, and Sebastian Vollmer.
The versatility of Wendell and Connolly has buoyed the line, as the two have transitioned between both the guard and center positions seamlessly whenever needed.
On Sunday, the Patriots will be counting on Wendell again at center.
“[Wendell and Connolly] have flanked [Stork] all season, so those guys have a great idea of what to do and an understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish,” quarterback Tom Brady said this week.
“Those guys have both played. We’ve got a lot of depth at that position, not that we want to dip into our depth any more than we have, but whoever is out there has to go out there and do a great job. We’re playing against a great defense.”
Cornerback Brandon Browner (knee), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), defensive tackle Chris Jones (elbow), and wide receiver Brandon LaFell (shoulder, toe) were all limited participants in Friday’s practice and are probable for Sunday.
For Indianapolis, cornerbacks Vontae Davis (knee) and Greg Toler (groin) were limited Friday and are listed as questionable. Linebacker Erik Walden (knee) is probable.
All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. Gronkowski played in just seven games in 2013 because of forearm and ACL injuries, then missed just one game this season, leading all tight ends with 1,124 receiving yards (on 82 catches), plus 12 touchdowns.
Gronkowski joins Brady (2009) and Randy Moss (2007) as the only Patriots to win the award.
On board to perform
Pat Monahan, the vocalist and songwriter of Train, will perform the national anthem ahead of Sunday’s 6:40 p.m. kickoff. Train also performed before the Patriots played the Rams in London in 2012, a game the Patriots won, 45-7 . . . The Patriots’ three most recent team Hall of Fame inductees — Ty Law (2014), Tedy Bruschi (2013), and Troy Brown (2012) — will serve as the team’s honorary captains Sunday . . . The team sent out an advisory warning fans to beware of counterfeit tickets. Four individuals from New York were arrested in Somerville for counterfeiting after an individual purchased tickets on Craigslist and called the police after realizing they were fake.