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Patriots safety Steve Gregory suffers broken thumb

New England's bustling trainers' room just grew busier.

NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Tuesday that Patriots safety Steve Gregory suffered a broken thumb in Sunday's 55-31 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to a source briefed on Gregory's prognosis.

The timing of the injury helps. Breer was told Gregory might not miss a game because New England's bye week falls in Week 10 before the Patriots return to action on Nov. 18 against the high-flying Carolina Panthers. Gregory's availability likely will depend on whether he can play with a cast nestling the thumb.

With linebacker Jerod Mayo and behemoth defensive tackle Vince Wilfork already out of the mix, Gregory had been operating as the leader of the defense, calling plays and serving as a veteran presence on a unit flush with younger players after the injury bug hit hard.

If Gregory, in his eighth season, is forced to miss time, rookie Duron Harmon -- who's played just 125 snaps this season -- will be pressed into action. We'll keep an eye on this one.

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