Devin McCourty isn’t practicing for Patriots, Shane Vereen is

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Left tackle Nate Solder isn’t the only Patriots player trying to get cleared from a concussion in time to help the team nail down at least a first round playoff bye against the Bills this weekend.

Safety Devin McCourty doesn’t have the same extensive concussion history that Solder brings to the table, but he’s still in the protocol and hasn’t been able to practice at all this week. McCourty will need to be cleared for a return to practice before he can get cleared for game action, so there may not be enough time for that to happen for this week’s game.

Running back Shane Vereen’s chances of playing look better. Vereen participated in practice on Thursday, as he did on Tuesday, which is a good sign that the groin injury that knocked him out of Week 16 isn’t overly significant.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports that wide receiver Josh Boyce also missed practice. Boyce has an ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s game and he hasn’t practiced at all in the last two weeks.