|Aaron Hernandez feared the worst but is ‘healed and better now’||10.18.12 at 1:47 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Aaron Hernandez was in a light-hearted mood on Thursday. Maybe it was because he knew he wouldn’t have to go through a strenuous practice, as the tight end was among five Patriots not spotted at the beginning of practice in shells.
He was smiling and joking with reporters, as he spoke in front of his locker for the final four minutes of player media availability in the Patriots locker room.
That’s news since it marked his first public comments since injuring his right ankle on Sept. 16 against the Cardinals.
When he wasn’t kidding around about the next time he’ll speak, he was admitting he initially feared the ankle was broken when Julian Edelman and a Cardinals defender fell on him while he was engaged in a block. As he was lying on the ground, he was hoping that he didn’t break the ankle, an injury that would’ve knocked him out for the season.
“Broke,” Hernandez said Thursday when asked what was going through his mind at first. “But it healed and I’m better now.”
Hernadez returned on Sunday in Seattle, catching six passes on nine targets by Tom Brady. He gained 30 yards, including a 1-yard TD in the second quarter.
“It’s all about confidence and I got more practice time in and gained some more confidence in cutting off the ankle, because I cut a lot,” Hernandez said. “It made me [feel] ready and feel comfortable to go out and play a game. When you’re out there on the field, you kind of forget about everything and just hope for the best. Once I caught that first pass, I got back in the game and wanted to catch the ball some more.
“I felt pretty good. It felt good to be out there and help the team. I came out healthy and hopefully I’ll come out healthy this week.”
Hernandez said he’s not worried about a recurrence of the same injury later in the season.
“You get nervous at times but it’s feeling great so there’s nothing to worry about [anymore],” he said. “If it gets hurt, it’s the man above. So, I guess I’ll be all right.”
Hernandez said the hardest part was watching the games while Bill Belichick and the staff sent him home to heal.
“I wasn’t really on the sidelines, I was at home,” he said. “But obviously, it was tough, especially when you live to play football, been doing it your whole life. You want to play, help the team. That’s why I came back.
“Maybe I was a step slower but I felt pretty good and look forward to getting better. I know we have a great training staff and I know they’re going to work hard to get us back, especially under Bill’s supervision.”
After chatting with reporters, Hernandez said thanks and quipped, “Have a nice day guys. See you guys in five weeks.”
That last bit may or may not have been a joke.
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