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PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

Tom Brady misses practice with knee/illness issues

Tom Brady suffered a knee injury two weeks ago against the Tennessee Titans.
Tom Brady suffered a knee injury two weeks ago against the Tennessee Titans.(Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)

FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady missed practice Friday as he battles illness and a knee injury suffered two weeks ago in the Patriots’ loss in Nashville.

The Patriots quarterback still is expected to play in Sunday’s game against the Jets in the Meadowlands according to a league source.

It was the first missed session of the season for Brady, who had been limited earlier in the week because of the knee and is officially “questionable” for the game.

Rob Gronkowski had a little fun when asked if he had caught any passes from Brady on Friday.

“Yeah,’’ he said with a laugh. “Didn’t tell you where though. Could have been on the field, could have been in the locker room.’’

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He then said he couldn’t remember where he caught them.

“That was a trick question by asking me that,’’ he said. “Yeah, I forgot.’’

Brady did post on Instagram in Friday morning and his locker had that lived-in look, indicating he was in the building.

In the unlikely event Brady wasn’t able to go, Brian Hoyer would get his first start of the season. Gronkowski said his confidence level in Hoyer is “high.”

“We’ve got a lot of good players at every position but with Hoyer in there, he does a great job every single week,’’ he said. “He’s always ready.’’

Gordon thankful

Receiver Josh Gordon again credited his teammates with continuing to make his adjustment to the organization an easy one.

Gordon has played in seven games with the Patriots after suiting up for just 11 for the Browns from 2014-18. He said his teammates deserve a ton of credit for keeping him on the field.

“I’m just led by the guys here that lead me,’’ said Gordon, who has missed games because of substance abuse suspensions and others as he dealt with mental health issues. “I watch how they do it. This is a bunch of professional guys who are leaders of me, and I’m just going to follow suit. They’re making it real easy for me to come in and do my job.’’

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Gordon, who has 26 catches for 477 yards and a pair of touchdowns, is looking forward to being in a playoff race for the first time in his career.

“It’s different, that’s for sure,’’ he said. “It’s exciting, though. It’s motivational for me, for everybody. I’ve never really had the opportunity before, considering the circumstances, so it’s great to have the opportunity now. It’s a blessing. It’s awesome.’’

Praise for McCown

The Jets officially downgraded Sam Darnold to out as the rookie quarterback deals with a foot injury. Josh McCown will get the start and the veteran has a fan in Bill Belichick.

“He’s a good player, smart, really handles himself well,’’ the Patriots coach said of the 16-year veteran. “He’s always had a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage to audible plays, change protections, things like that. I think he sees the defense well, certainly knows what they’re doing. He’s got a good arm, he’s got good size, athletic, can avoid the rush, make plays out of the pocket.’’

The questionable list

In addition to Brady and Gronkowski (ankle/back), the Patriots also listed running back Sony Michel (knee), right guard Shaq Mason (calf), and special teamer Nate Ebner (knee) as “limited/questionable.” Tight end Dwayne Allen (knee) was ruled out . . . Allen was spotted in the locker room for the first time since being hurt against the Titans. He was in good spirits and moving freely . . . Cornerback Eric Rowe also was in the locker room for the first time since being placed on injured reserve because of a groin injury on Oct. 30 . . . Belichick said the team will take a cautious approach as they figure out how to best use rookie defensive back Duke Dawson, who was activated Nov. 13. “He’s done multiple things but he doesn’t really have a lot of experience at any of those things, so we’ll just have to see from week to week and see how it progresses. The kicking game, I mean, that’s all factored in. We’ll just have to see.’’ . . . In a light moment, Belichick revealed he still hasn’t mastered the art of telling twins Devin and Jason McCourty apart. “They make it really hard,’’ he said. Reminded that the brothers often dress alike, the coach said, “Yeah, no kidding. I don’t usually look at numbers. I can usually tell just from looking at the guy who it is. I don’t really look at a number and register the player. I can just recognize him. It’s hard with those guys.’’

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Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.