We’ll have to wait until later on Thursday to see if quarterback Tom Brady’s hand or some new part of tight end Rob Gronkowski’s body winds up on the injury report, but we do know that both players were at practice.
So were all of their teammates from the active roster and running back Shane Vereen, who is making his way back from the wrist injury that landed him on injured reserve with the ability to return. That includes defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who hasn’t played since October 6th, and cornerback Aqib Talib, who has been out since October 13th.
Mike Whitmer of the Boston Globe reports that Talib was wearing pads on his legs, something he didn’t do during the Patriots’ full-pads workout last week. We probably won’t get much clarity about whether Talib is returning from his hip injury until the weekend, but the change in status would seem to bode well for his chances of squaring off with Antonio Brown come Sunday.
With a bye after facing Brown and the rest of the Steelers, the Patriots should be pretty healthy to start the stretch run as long as you ignore the players who have already been lost for the season.