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Patriots notebook

Brady is officially listed as ‘questionable’

The Patriots hope quarterback Tom Brady can play today, and celebrate a few touchdowns the way he did Sunday. The Patriots hope quarterback Tom Brady can play today, and celebrate a few touchdowns the way he did Sunday. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)
By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / November 25, 2010

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DETROIT — The interest in Tom Brady’s physical well-being moved to another level yesterday as the Patriots listed the quarterback as questionable for today’s game against the Lions.

Brady has been slowed for almost three weeks by a foot sprain that popped up on the injury report before the Patriots played the Steelers Nov. 14. However, Brady has not missed a snap, despite being limited in practice since the injury.

Brady sat out Tuesday, the Patriots’ only full practice of the week. Because of the short week, the Patriots held walkthroughs Monday and yesterday. They released a practice report that estimated Brady would have been limited Monday and would not have participated yesterday, if the team had practiced.

According to the NFL, a player who is questionable has a 50-50 chance of playing.

This is the third time in Brady’s career that he has been listed as questionable. The previous two times, he played.

Last season, a variety of injuries (right shoulder, rib, finger) led to Brady being questionable before the Patriots played the Panthers Dec. 13. He completed 17 of 32 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown in a 20-10 victory.

The other time he was questionable was back on Dec. 17, 2005, when he had right shoulder and shin ailments. He threw three touchdown passes and completed 20 of 31 passes for 258 yards in a 28-0 win over Tampa Bay.

While the foot sprain has limited Brady in practices, he has not appeared strained during games. Against the Steelers, he threw for a season-high 350 yards (30 of 43) in a 39-26 win. Last week against the Colts, he came back to complete 19 of 25 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-28 victory.

Four Patriots were downgraded to out yesterday: offensive lineman Stephen Neal (shoulder), defensive lineman Myron Pryor (back), cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (hip), and defensive lineman Mike Wright (neck/concussion).

That leaves Brady and two others — safety Jarrad Page (calf) and running back Fred Taylor (toe) — as questionable.

Beware of Lions The last time the Patriots faced a team with a record below .500, they were humbled. The Browns have three victories this season, and one was against the Patriots Nov. 7. They sent the Patriots out of Cleveland Browns Stadium with a 34-14 loss and a number of issues to correct.

The Lions are 2-8 and have not won since they beat the Redskins, 37-25, Oct. 31. Since then, the Lions have spiraled into a three-game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Patriots are tied with the Jets and Falcons for the best record in the NFL at 8-2.

After being beaten handily by the Browns, the Patriots are not taking any team for granted.

Receiver Wes Welker said coach Bill Belichick “would stay on top of us and make sure we’re not getting overconfident or believing the noise outside of the locker room.’’

Brady said the Patriots are not worried about having a “psychological letdown’’ today.

“I don’t think that’s the reason why we lost to Cleveland,’’ Brady said. “I think the reason we lost to Cleveland is because we didn’t play well. The reason why we beat Pittsburgh is because we played well and the reason why we beat Indy is we played well. The reason we are going to win or lose this game is because we play well or we don’t play well.’’

Prime picks Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty grabbed his third interception of the season Sunday, which is tops among rookies in the AFC. The list of quarterbacks he has picks against is impressive. His first was against Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. He also intercepted Minnesota’s Brett Favre and Indianapolis’s Peyton Manning. “Devin’s really been a consistent player for us all year, from the first rookie minicamp after the draft to all through the season,’’ Belichick said. “You wouldn’t know he’s a rookie. He acts and prepares like he’s been doing it for five or six years.’’

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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