Patriots' injury report proves things are not always as they appear

In the world of sports reporting, Humpty Dumpty-style fence sitting is often confused for objective journalism, particularly within the closed fraternity of the fickle Boston Media.

So when New England Patriots' Brandon Spikes emerged from the locker room in sweats for Friday's practice session at the Gillette Stadium practice complex, the media immediately hopped up on the brick wall of objectivity, declaring en mass that the hard-hitting linebacker "May be" a game time decision due to a knee injury.
Spikes (bottom) is probable for Sunday night

And why not?  Coach Bill Belichick has a distaste of reporters that borders on psychotic abhorration, and the day that he shares more than what is absolutely mandated by the National Football League rules will be - well - never, which leaves the job of a Patriots' beat writer an effort of mass speculation, to the point that knee-jerk reaction is acceptable for print.

It was a round 3:00pm that the reports of Spikes being in sweats and chatting idly with linebackers' coach Pepper Johnson on the sidelines started to surface, the beat writers speculating that since his teammates were in shorts and shells, his problematic knee injury must be bad enough to warrant a call of "Game-time decision"...

...knowing that they had a 50/50 shot of being right - and if they weren't, well, they could just chalk it up to Belichick's capricious nature.

No need for retraction, because the fans that have been exposed to the irresponsible journalism for their entire lives have never needed one, at least not for as long as the abruptly coy head coach has been running the show.

And good thing, too, for at around 6:00pm when that league mandate came into effect and Belichick had to burn an injury report, there was Spikes name associated with the status of "Probable".

Ah, Billy Bedlam.  Will we ever be able to figure you out?

Brandon Spikes has a knee injury that has limited him in practice all week, and today he's chewing the fat with Pepper on the side in loungewear but listed as probable for the Broncos game, while nearly every starter in the Patriots secondary is listed as questionable and are going at it in shells and shorts.

Shouldn't that be the other way around?

If the cryptic Belichick has left us anything to read between the lines, it's that appearances can be deceiving.  Alfonzo Dennard had arthroscopic surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus, and would figure to be doubtful, yet it's been reported by many sources that he appears to be moving well.

Steve Gregory has chronic hitchhiker's thumb after snapping it in the Pittsburgh game before the bye, an obvious candidate for the inactive roster on game day, yet word from around town is that he will definitely play on Sunday night - and Aqib Talib assures us that his hip is "Alright", while Kyle Arrington played through his groin issue on Monday night and looks good to go, too...

...and if this is how things are going to pan out 90 minutes before game time on Sunday night when Belichick must have his roster pared down to 46 active players, that news would be much better than Patriots' fans could have hoped for - which means Humpty Dumpty can remain firmly planted on the wall of objectivity.

Photo Credit -  Keith Nordstrom via New England Patriots