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Spikes breaks silence after injury

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After missing seven games with a knee injury, Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes made his return to the field in Sunday's win over the Bills. He didn't speak to reporters after the game, but on Thursday he chatted for the first time since suffering the injury against the Giants in Week 9.

"It was definitely a first time thing for me. I never really got hurt like that," Spikes said. "It's good to be out there running around, making plays with the guys. It's been a while and I'm just fortunate to be back on the field."

Spikes has worn a brace on his injured knee since returning to practice.

"It's just protection," Spikes said of the brace. "I think it's [more of] a mental thing for me. It's good. I'm all set."

Last season, the NFL suspended Spikes for the final four games of the regular season for violating the league drug policy. Spikes was asked if he was is in a better position physically entering the playoffs this season than last season.

"I think so. That was my first time as a rookie. [The] rookie suspension: it's in the past, it's all over," Spikes said. "I went through it, so now if I'm out of the game I know how to take care of myself and be a professional."

"I was a rookie," he added. "Young and dumb."