McDonald ready to step up anywhere

After leaving the Patriots' Week 10 win over the Buffalo Bills due to injuries, the status of starting guards Logan Mankins (calf/ankle) and Dan Connolly (back) remains unclear for Week 11.

Nick McDonald, who stepped in to fill one of the vacated guard spots, could be called upon to play a starting role this weekend when the Patriots host the Colts.

But whether McDonald ends up earning the start or not, his preparation for Sunday won't change.

"I'm preparing the same way I do every week," McDonald said. "You've got to be prepared to start, you never know what's going to happen, no idea, so I think every week you've got to prepare as if you're going to play 60 minutes."

We've seen McDonald used in a number of different spots during both training camp and the regular season, and he has the rare ability to play all five positions along the offensive line. Despite the fact that he may end up playing a predominantly guard role this Sunday, McDonald hasn't changed his mentality.

"It's the same, whatever the coaches ask me to do, whatever position they want me at, I'm going to play," he said. "Whether it's any of the five spots I'm going to be playing, rotating in, whatever it is, whatever they want to be play, I'll be ready."

Should McDonald start on Sunday (he filled Mankins' spot at left guard in Week 10), he'll be stepping in to the spot of a player whom he looks up to as a mentor.

"They're big influences on us," he said of Mankins and Connolly. "They're older guys, they've been in the system for a while, they understand how to play the game. Those guys aren't big talkers, they do it with their actions, how they play on the field. They teach us and they know how to do it. You've just got to learn from them and then take the coaching and play as best as you can."