The New England Patriots returned to work again earlier today, starting their preparation for another playoff run. While the team will not enter the contest until its divisional round game on January 13 and will therefore not release an injury report this week, the media members present for the open portion of today’s practice reported that three members of the team were not spotted early on during the session:
TE Dwayne Allen
FB James Develin
FS Devin McCourty
James Develin’s absence is not injury related — his wife gave birth today — but the other two players not spotted are noteworthy. While Dwayne Allen was on and off the injury report ever since hurting his knee in week 11 against the Tennessee Titans, Devin McCourty left Sunday’s victory over the New York Jets with a head injury. While there is no indication yet that the issue — reportedly a concussion — is a long term issue, seeing a starting defender miss practice time 11 days ahead of the playoff opener is far from ideal.
On the good news front: depth tight end Jacob Hollister returned after missing two practices last week due to a hamstring injury. According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, however, the second-year man who is also a regular on special teams was visibly moving slowly.