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Colvin confident of return next year

Speaking publicly for the first time since fracturing his hip Sept. 14 in Philadelphia, Patriots outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin reported yesterday that he was "relaxing . . . in a secluded cave somewhere" following surgery last Friday, and he agrees with the prognosis of a return to the field next season.

"I'm doing everything other than walking," said Colvin, who declined to reveal his exact whereabouts. "I'm playing with my kids. As soon as I walked in the door, I had my kids in my hand. That's not a problem. I'm sleeping all right. I'm cool.

"Right now I'm catching up on my church service. I've got a bunch of tapes I'm laying up watching. I flex my toes every now and then. Nothing major. I'm just relaxing right now. I've got to get my mind right. I just woke up. This is really the first time I've had to a chance to think about what's going on.

"I've got 90 messages I need to check."

Colvin, who was joined on a conference call by his agent, Kennard McGuire, confirmed that the operation, performed at Massachusetts General Hospital, began as an exploratory procedure and progressed once doctors discovered the fracture. Colvin said he was uncertain whether he suffered a subluxation of the left hip (partial, temporary joint dislocation), the injury that ended Bo Jackson's career and reports of which incited more than a week of speculation and panic among Patriots fans.

"I'm not sure. I'm not a doctor," said Colvin, borrowing a line from his head coach, who, apparently, really didn't know that Colvin was undergoing surgery when he met with the media last Friday afternoon. "I'm not a surgeon. I just know that something wasn't correct, wasn't normal. When they went in, they said something wasn't normal, something wasn't right."

McGuire said the surgical team repaired only the fracture, and that Colvin is not thought to be susceptible to avascular necrosis, or bone death resulting from the ball of the hip joint receiving an insufficient supply of blood. The condition causes the bone to collapse, leaving the individual in need of an artificial hip or bone transplant.

Not to worry, McGuire said. New England's $25 million man will be back.

"Everything was smooth," McGuire said. "We do expect for him to be suited up and playing next year. We look forward to him having a full recovery."

Colvin said he had not been given an exact timetable as to when he would be able to resume football-related activity.

Colvin, 26, suffered the injury recovering a Donovan McNabb fumble in the second quarter of the Patriots' 31-10 win at Lincoln Financial Field. Everyone knows the when; the how remains a mystery, even to Colvin.

"I went down to pick it up, and that's when I felt the discomfort," he said. "It happened. I'm not sure if it was because my foot got stuck in the ground or because I bent over. I have no explanation for it. You can go look at the tape, at the play, and see if you can figure out what happened. When you do, let me know."

Colvin said he was moving with the aid of crutches. But over the next several months, he'll lean more on his faith for support.

"It's frustrating," he acknowledged. "I think about what I had done my four years in Chicago, and I decided that I was going to come in this offseason and work harder than I had worked, and the Patriots pushed me harder than I had ever worked in my career.

"I felt very positive about where my body was, faithwise, strengthwise, where my mind was, I felt comfortable in the defense. And I felt like I could come out and help the defense do some of the things they wanted to accomplish, and with the talent they had out there, I was extremely excited. It's frustrating, for everything I've done to this point, from the end of the season to like a week ago, is to no avail.

"I'm a strong Christian. I've got my faith, my family. I'm just going to keep on plugging and do the things I need to do to get back to where I need to be."

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