Fred Taylor and the New England Patriots are hopeful that the running back's ankle surgery isn't season-ending and that he can return sometime soon.
"We'll list him on the injury report weekly as we always do," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Friday when asked if Taylor will play again this season. "I think obviously if he wasn't going to come back this season, then we would place him on injured reserve at some point. He's not there now, so that wouldn't be the expectation."
Taylor, who's 15th in NFL history with 11,472 career rushing yards, underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his right ankle Thursday at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Taylor told the Florida Times-Union on Thursday night that the surgery was "more serious than a scope," but he doesn't expect it to sideline him for the entire season. Taylor also told the newspaper that he sustained a high ankle sprain and tore "a couple of ligaments."
Taylor said he will know more when he speaks to the doctor again, but he pledged to "bounce back stronger. I know it. I've prayed on it."
Taylor, who spent the first 11 years of his NFL career with the Jacksonville Jaguars before signing a two-year contract with the Patriots during the offseason, is New England's leading rusher. He has 45 carries for 201 yards and two touchdowns in four games this season, and he expressed disappointment in missing playing time, starting with Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.
"I had just started to feel comfortable with the coaching staff and the offense," Taylor told the Times-Union. "I had just gotten to where I felt they trusted me. I needed to have that 100-yard game to prove they could trust me. That's the part that hurts most about the whole situation."
Taylor was injured on his final carry in last Sunday's 27-21 victory over the Baltimore Ravens and limped off the field. He finished that game with a team-high 25 yards on seven carries, one week after gaining 105 yards on 21 attempts in a 26-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Taylor, 33, missed one game as a rookie in 1998 because of a shoulder injury. Then he missed six in 1999 (hamstring), three in 2000 (knee), the last 14 in 2001 (groin), the last two in 2004 (knee), five in 2005 (ankle), one in 2006 (hamstring) and the last three in 2008 (thumb).
Belichick said Friday that activating BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who has yet to play in a game this season, to replace Taylor is a "possibility." The Patriots also have Sammy Morris, Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk in their running back rotation, and Belichick said that they all know their roles.
"We have confidence in all our backs," Belichick said. "We have four other backs on the roster, so how all that will work, we'll have to see how it all materializes."
The Patriots are hopeful that linebacker Jerod Mayo can return Sunday after being sidelined by a right knee injury suffered during the season-opening victory over the Buffalo Bills. Mayo, the 2008 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, had limited participation in practice this week and was listed as questionable on the injury report Friday.
Other Patriots listed as questionable after limited participation in practice Friday are offensive tackle Nick Kaczur (ankle), safety James Sanders (shoulder), cornerback Shawn Springs (knee), wide receiver Wes Welker (knee) and nose tackle Vince Wilfork (ankle). Linebacker Adalius Thomas missed practice Friday for a non-injury related reason and was listed as probable.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.