Sebastian Vollmer to play Sunday

INDIANAPOLIS -- New England Patriots starting offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who has missed the last seven games with back and foot injuries, will play in Super Bowl XLVI, offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia told WEEI.com on Tuesday.

"He'll play. He'll play in this game at some point, whether we have Nate (Solder) outside or him at tackle," Scarnecchia said, according to WEEI.com. "He's going to be out there, and thank God we've got him."

Vollmer's presence will be a boost against the Giants' attacking defensive front, as he was a 2010 second-team Associated Press All-Pro selection. This has been a frustrating season for him health-wise, as he has played in just six games, with five starts.

Solder, the team's first-round draft choice, has filled in admirably at right tackle. He also has lined up as a tight end for 144 snaps, mostly in a blocking role, but sometimes going out in pass routes.

Interestingly, Solder played a season-high 23 snaps as a tight end in the 24-20 loss to the Giants on Nov. 6. It was one of the six games Vollmer played this season.

So Vollmer's presence could be as a starter, or possibly as a third tackle who comes on when the Patriots want to move Solder to tight end.

Vollmer was not available on media day Tuesday, nor was left tackle Matt Light. A team official said both were absent because of an illness. ESPN's Ed Werder reported that Light's ailment is not considered serious enough to threaten his availability on Sunday. Linebacker Jerod Mayo attended but said he has a cold.

On Monday, coach Bill Belichick revealed Vollmer had the cast removed from his foot before the Jan. 14 divisional playoff game against the Denver Broncos and said he thought it was possible Vollmer would play in the Super Bowl.

"I'd say it's a possibility," Belichick said then. "Sebastian has gotten a lot better here over the last few weeks. He practiced last week before the Baltimore game and I'd say it was close, but obviously wasn't ready to go and we didn't activate him. This week, he's further along than what he was before the Denver game.

"He practiced (Monday), so we'll see how the week goes and see how he holds up, but I think there is definitely a possibility. We'll just have to see how he tolerates the added work and if he does well, I think you'll see him. If not, then it will be where it was in Baltimore. I don't really know if we'll know that until we put him through the full week of practice, but he's definitely making progress."

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.