Hightower: I'll be a game-time decision

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots rookie linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who left Sunday's win over the Bills in the first quarter with a hamstring injury and has been limited in each of the team's practices this week, says that he has no pain in the hamstring and that he is "game-time decision" for Sunday's matchup with the Broncos.

"Right now it's a day-to-day thing, it's going to be up to Jumbo [team athletic trainer Jim Whalen] and Coach Belichick," Hightower told reporters on Friday. "Each day it's getting better, I'm feeling better, I'm moving around great. It's going to be a game-time decision, it's going to be up to them."

Asked whether he would play if it were his own decision, Hightower said he will defer to his coach's judgement.

"It's up to coach. If he feels like I'm ready to go, then I'm going to go out there and do what I can," he answered.

Hightower, who injured the hamstring on a play in which he steamrolled running back C.J. Spiller and sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick, was replaced by veteran Tracy White in the base defense. Hightower said watching the game from the sidelines was difficult, but he praised the efforts of both White and his defensive teammates.

"[It was] definitely hard going down, but Tracy White did a really good job of stepping in and doing my job," he said. "Definitely well-prepared. He's a great player. Rob [Ninkovich] and everybody else did a great job picking up where I left off. Hopefully I'll be able to get out there this weekend so we don't have to go through that again."