Patriots prep for life without Chung?

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Patriots are bracing for life without Patrick Chung this week in Buffalo.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After safety Patrick Chung underwent surgery on his right thumb this week and missed practices Wednesday and Thursday, his status is in question for Sunday's game against the Bills. Reports from the Boston Herald and Comcast SportsNet have already declared him out.

Cornerback Devin McCourty touched on Chung's potential absence in an interview with sports radio WEEI this morning.

"You know that happens in a season. I think we're prepared for him not to be out there, and guys will have to step up," McCourty told the "Dennis & Callahan" program (audio here).

"He's played a lot of plays early in the season for us, and it will be a little different without him. I'm excited just to see guys get that opportunity to step up and play well."

Chung played every snap in the season opener and likely would have played every snap last Sunday against the Chargers had he not injured his right thumb in the third quarter.

McCourty called Chung "one of the most active guys on defense" while citing how he makes defensive calls in the secondary, which helps everyone get on the same page.

McCourty pointed to Sergio Brown and Josh Barrett, the next safeties on the depth chart, as those who would need to step up their game.

"They're used to having him out there. You just have to go out there and play without him," McCourty said.