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Dennard misses Saturday practice

News from Gillette Stadium as the Patriots prepare for their next opponent, the Carolina Panthers.

Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard has been limited this week at practice with a knee injury and was not seen at the start of Saturday's workout in Foxborough. If it was the knee that caused him to miss today's session, that does not bode well for his chances of playing Monday night against the Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It's unclear whether Dennard injured the knee in the last game against the Steelers or sometime during the practices since then. New England had just one practice last week before their bye weekend, but did not have to submit an injury report until this week. But the team also practiced on Tuesday of this past week, before the first injury report was released on Thursday, so it's conceivable that Dennard was injured at practice.

Regardless, his absence on Saturday could put even more pressure on a Patriots secondary that has been without the services of starting left corner Aqib Talib (left hip) for the past three games (although he has been able to practice) and will likely be without safety Steve Gregory (right thumb), who hasn't been seen since he was injured against Pittsburgh.

There is some hope that Talib could return to game action this week against Carolina. He spoke to reporters earlier in the week, which is often a sign that an injured player is on the verge of returning.

Meanwhile, as of Saturday morning, New England still had an open spot on the 53-man roster. Most observers believe it will be filled by running back Shane Vereen (left wrist), who is eligible to come off the injured reserve/designated-to-return list.

We will know more about each player's game status later Saturday afternoon when the final injury report is released.

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