Thursday was a holiday, but also a work day for the Patriots. The team practiced and held meetings as they normally would, and according to the official injury/practice participation report for the day, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (knee) did not take part. He had been limited in his activity the day before.
On Friday, when New England went back on the practice field, Dennard was among his teammates again. Dennard reportedly underwent an operation on his bad knee (unclear which one) the weekend the Patriots traveled to Carolina in Week 11. He missed that game, but was back in action against Denver last Sunday night. Dennard did not last the entire game, however, leaving at the end of the 2nd quarter after apparently aggravating the injury.
Three Patriots still remain missing from practice as they have all week: tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (left knee, injured at Carolina), o-lineman Marcus Cannon (right ankle, injured against Denver), and rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson (foot, unclear which one).
Cannon was replaced by eighth-year veteran Will Svitek at right tackle against Denver, and with Cannon missing the entire week of practice, it's likely Svitek will assume that role again in Houston this Sunday.
"It was definitely good to be playing," Svitek told reporters Friday. "That's what you always want to be doing. I missed last year [in Atlanta] with a triceps injury, so, it was fun to be back out there playing.
"You never want anyone to go down, but… I try to prepare every game like I'm a starter, because you don't know if you're going to be playing two snaps or 80 like I was the other day. I try to be mentally ready, physically ready, know every position, because you go into a game only dressing seven guys [on the o-line]. That's the nature of the NFL. That's my role, so, I try to be a professional and do it to the best of my ability."