For years, Logan Mankins has made habit of poking his head into the trainer’s room and wryly telling his wounded teammates to “tape an aspirin” to their ailing limbs and keep moving. The Patriots offensive guard claims to have employed that exact approach last season when he played on a torn ACL, an injury that sidelined him for just one game.

But there hasn’t been a pill big enough to keep him on the field this season. Hip, ankle and calf injuries have sidelined him for six games. It’s a hard reality for a player who missed the first practice of his career due to injury until last season, and despite practicing all week after sitting consecutive games, he will be a game-time decision Monday night against the Houston Texans.

“It’s been a couple games here, miss a couple, then a couple here, and miss a few,” Mankins said. “It’s just one of those years where I can’t get on track.

“It’s been tough, but it is what it is. You learn to deal with it. I’ve been pretty fortunate most of my career, so I guess it happens to everyone sooner or later.”

Mankins' situation comes into a spotlight this week against a Houston team that has recorded 36 sacks. If he’s unable to play, Donald Thomas will likely stand in Mankins’ place, as he has in recent weeks to rave reviews.

“We knew he would (be good). We got to see Donald last year and then he’s been here since training camp this year,” Mankins said. “He’s take a lot of reps, played a lot of games now, and done a very good job.”

Jones on track: Rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, who has missed consecutive games due to injury, responded to an inquiry about he’s feeling by saying, “Ready to play against the Texans.” When pressed for details, he quickly backtracked and said coach Bill Belichick will determine his status.

Brady not missing a beat:  Tom Brady welcomed his new daughter, Vivian Lake, to the world Wednesday night, but the excitement of the moment hasn’t distracted him from his job. Belichick said it has been business as usual, outside of Brady showing up to work an hour late Thursday. “We met yesterday. I think he’s right on top of everything like he usually is,” Belichick said. “As far as his preparation, we met and went over their scheme and their players and the adjustments and things we expected the Texans to do and so forth and he seemed right on top of it to me, like he usually does.”

Nick Underhill covers the Patriots for Follow him on Twitter@CBSPats or @nick_underhill.