FOXBORO -- In his own words, Steve Gregory on if he fully expects to play Sunday against the Bills:
"Yeah. I mean I'm out there practicing right now, trying to definitely get back in the swing of things. We'll see how it goes."
It's as definitive an answer as we've heard. Gregory suffered a hip injury in New England's Week 4 win over the Bills. He's been inactive for the four games played since -- a reality that continues to rankle him.
"I'm real anxious," Gregory said of returning. "It's not fun to sit on the couch and watch the guys out there playing, so I'm real anxious to get out there and play."
But the extended rest has been necessary. He's said before that the biggest mistake he could make is to rush back before he's 100-percent and experience some sort of setback.
In Gregory's mind, New England's week off couldn't have come at a better time.
"Anytime you have any injury, time heals," he said. "The more time you have to heal . . . bye week coming in there and giving an extra week, really two weeks. The healing process helped out."
He's certainly not the only Patriot who's battered and bruised. Players up and down the roster -- cornerback Kyle Arrington, tight end Aaron Hernandez, linebacker Jerod Mayo -- likely embraced the bye's respite in a similar way.
Especially since they're back to work already, and have four division games ahead.
"It's important," Gregory said. "The season can be a grind. You go through camp, then you go through the preseason, and you're kind of eight weeks into it now. It's good for the guys to get away, get their minds off things a little bit, see it from an outside perspective.
"But now, definitely, put that behind you. You had your time off. Get back to work and get this thing going."
From the sound of it, Gregory is more than eager to join them.
"Vacation's over," he said.