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Dan Koppen on his ankle injury: ‘This is a minor bump in the road’

10.26.11 at 12:48 pm ET

Dan Koppen suffered an injury in the season opener against Miami. (AP)

FOXBORO — Center Dan Koppen made a surprise appearance in the Patriots’ locker room on Wednesday morning. The veteran offensive lineman, who fractured his left ankle in the regular-season opener against the Dolphins and was placed on season-ending injured reserve soon after, said it’s been “tough” sitting and watching his teammates, but he’s found ways to get through it.

“You want to be out there and you want to be playing, but like I said before, injuries happen. Next man up has to be ready to go. As far as watching, it’s tough. But you get used to it,” said Koppen, who was in a walking boot.

“I just got off crutches, so I’m pretty happy about that,” he added. “I’m just getting back into working out and taking it slow. No (reason to) rush back now. Just heal it up 100 percent and be ready to go next year.”

The 32-year-old Koppen has been remarkably durable over the course of his career — he had only missed one game since the start of the 2006 season. Now, he’s been forced to sit and watch. He understands the reality of the situation.

“It was a decision that was made — it’s a business,” he said. “Things have to get done. You can’t hold spots all year.

“People have been hurt before — I’ve been hurt before,” he added. “You lean on your family. Obviously, my linemates and their support. Everybody around here has been great. It’s just been fun being around and being a part of the team and rooting them on as well as I can from watching it.”

In his absence, Koppen lauded the work of his fellow linemates, saying his replacement Dan Connolly has “been doing good.” But with the Boston College product currently in the final year of his contract, it’s clear where he would like to be going forward.

“I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said of his contract situation. “I’m enjoying where I’m at right now, rooting these guys on and hoping they have a great season. We’ll deal with that later.

“This is a minor bump in the road, so we’ll be back,” he added. “And hopefully, it’ll be here.”

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