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2019 NFL playoffs: James Develin returns to Patriots practice; Devin McCourty still absent

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New England returned to the practice fields today.

NFL: AUG 10 Patriots Training Camp Photograph by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yesterday, the New England Patriots returned off their two-day break to begin preparations for their upcoming playoff run. While the team will not enter the tournament until its divisional round game on January 13 and will therefore not release an injury report this week, media members present for the open portion of today’s practice reported that two players were not spotted early on during the team’s second session of the week:

TE Dwayne Allen

FS Devin McCourty

Seeing only two players absent is actually an improvement since yesterday as James Develin returned to the field today. The NFL’s best fullback — and the Patriots’ biggest Pro Bowl snub — was an excused absence during Wednesday’s practice due to the birth of his child. Seeing him miss practice was at no point a cause for concern, something that cannot yet definitively be said about Dwayne Allen and Devin McCourty.

Allen was on and off the injury report ever since he hurt his knee against the Tennessee Titans in week 11. The veteran missed three games because of the issue, but was active for New England’s final three regular season contests. He did, however, pop up on the practice report again last week and was listed as questionable for the game against the New York Jets (one during which Allen actually played 26 of 68 snaps).

Speaking of the game against the Jets: Devin McCourty suffered a concussion early in the third quarter after a friendly-fire hit from defensive tackle Malcom Brown. That being said, there reportedly is some optimism when it comes to the team captain’s long-term outlook and availability for next week’s postseason opener.