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Patriots practice report: Damien Harris not spotted as New England starts preparation for Bills

Related: Patriots vs. Vikings injury analysis: Jakobi Meyers among several players shaken up in Week 12

NFL: AUG 17 Patriots Panthers Joint-Practice Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots were back on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Sunday, kicking off the on-field preparation for their upcoming Thursday night game against the Buffalo Bills. Attendance was quite solid, but one notable player was not spotted during the media window to start the session: running back Damien Harris.

Harris, 25, suffered a thigh injury in the third quarter of the Patriots’ contest versus the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving. He left the game with a slight limp following a run for no yards and was first announced as questionable to return before later being ruled out for the remainder of the 33-26 loss.

Afterwards, the fourth-year man was spotted in the locker room on a pair of crutches. Three days later, he was nowhere to be seen as the Patriots started their first of three practices this week.

Harris’ status will be worth keeping a close eye on given his importance to New England’s offensive preparation. While recently taking a slight backseat to Rhamondre Stevenson, he still is a valuable member of their offensive operation who ranks second on the team in touches (97) and touchdowns (3), and third in yards from scrimmage (458).

Should Harris be forced to miss time, Stevenson is expected to see an even higher workload. Additionally, the Patriots have rookies Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris on their active roster, as well as third-year man J.J. Taylor on their practice squad.

Harris was not the only player not spotted on Sunday, though. Practice squad wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. was also not on the field during the brief media window. Bowden Jr. had already missed time last week as well.

The team also received some positive news on Sunday.

Wide receivers Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor, who both suffered injuries against the Vikings, were present for the start of practice. The same was true for offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn, who missed the trip to Minnesota because of a foot ailment.

The Patriots will be back at work on Monday with their second session leading up to the Bills game, which will be followed by the first injury report of the week. They will then hold another practice on Tuesday before he Thursday night matchup against their division rivals.