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Aaron Hernandez Returns to Practice

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New England Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez returns to practice on Thursday for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain during week two's contest against the Arizona Cardinals.

Rob Carr - Getty Images

The tight ends are coming! The tight ends are coming!

TEs Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui were all spotted at the beginning of practice this afternoon. This is Hernandez' first time returning to practice since suffering a high ankle sprain against the Arizona Cardinals during week two. While certainly great news for the Patriots, his status will have to be monitored leading up to Sunday's contest against the Denver Broncos to determine whether he will actually play. Either way, the possibility of a Hernandez return will surely send the Denver Broncos back to the film room to study the wrinkles of the Patriots playbook that they've certainly had to scale back in recent weeks in light of his absence.

Not spotted at practice were CB Ras-I Dowling, WR Julian Edelman and S Steve Gregory. It's looking more and more likely that Tavon Wilson will make his first start alongside Patrick Chung in the secondary, while Wes Welker's rekindled permanency on the field should continue with Edelman sidelined. The Dowling situation is one to monitor, as no apparent injury was noticed hampering him last week. This, all on the heels of losing more and more playing time to CB Sterling Moore as he struggles in coverage.