The Patriots received a boost at outside linebacker today at practice, with veteran Tully-Banta Cain returning for the first time since sustaining a groin injury last week. With Banta-Cain back, only Dan Connolly, Mike Wright, and Ron Brace were held out.
I wouldn't expect any of those three to play this week, although, on the bright side, Brace's injury is listed as an elbow injury rather than with the concussion he had last week. Yesterday, the Patriots saw the likes of Jermaine Cunningham, Myron Pryor, and Aaron Hernandez all return to practice, which is definitely a positive sign for the team.
Obviously, there's no guaranteeing that the banged-up players will play on Sunday against the Dolphins. Players that are game-time decisions are more unlikely to push themselves into action, as the Patriots are playing a game with no seeding implications. Still, the fact that key players such as Banta-Cain, Pryor, Hernandez, and Cunningham are closer to returning is obviously great news for the team.