FOXBORO -- Six teams had to play Thursday on Thanksgiving. Bill Belichick is thankful the New England Patriots isn't one of them.
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A flu bug has swept through the Patriots' locker room this week: Eight players were forced out of Wednesday's practice due to illness, and four of those eight -- including Dont'a Hightower and Isaiah Wynn -- didn't practice Thursday.
Belichick admitted Friday it would have been very challenging if New England had to play on Thursday instead of Sunday night against the Houston Texans.
"We'll see how they are today and re-evaluate it after today," Belichick said. "Would have been hard if we had played yesterday, I'd say that."
Belichick let out a few coughs following that answer, leading reporters to wonder if the bug has spread to New England's coaching staff.
"No, I feel good now. I think something just went down the wrong way," Belichick quipped.
"I mean, look: It's kind of hit everybody a little bit," Belichick added, before sprinkling in some sarcasm:
"We'll start doing injury reports on coaching staffs. That'll be the next thing."
There are signs that the Patriots are on the mend: Stephon Gilmore, Jamie Collins, Patrick Chung and Jermaine Eluemunor all were limited participants at practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday due to illness.
Right tackle Marcus Cannon also played through an illness last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, so if his teammates have a similar affliction, it's possible they could battle through it.
In any case, the Patriots will be bringing plenty of hand sanitizer on their trip to Houston.
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