Gregory inches closer to 100 percent

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran safety Steve Gregory made an appearance in the Patriots' locker room Tuesday during the media-access period and provided a status report of sorts on his recovery from a hip injury that has sidelined him the past two games.

"I can't wait to play [but] it's something you can't rush back because then you give yourself a setback," said Gregory, who started the first four games of the season and had been lauded for his smarts and ability to help keep the secondary on the same page. "I want to make sure I'm 100 percent healthy before I return."

Asked if he was hopeful he might play Sunday against the Jets, he answered, "I don't know. I'm just going day to day, trying to get healthy. We'll just take it from there."

The Patriots' inexperience at safety showed in the final minutes of Sunday's loss to the Seahawks, with rookies Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner split by receiver Sidney Rice on a 46-yard winning touchdown catch. Wilson started in place of Gregory, and Ebner came on after fellow starter Patrick Chung departed with a shoulder injury.

While he's also been part of giving up a big play this season (vs. Buffalo, Donald Jones' 68-yard catch-and-run TD), Gregory could help solidify the position.

"You never want to be hurt and not playing," he said, adding that he's still in meetings with his teammates. "As a competitor, you always want to be in there helping your team. The only thing I can focus on is getting healthy and that's what I've been doing. I'm doing what the training staff is asking me to do and working every day to get better."