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Quick Kicks: Fri. 9-23 Practice/Locker Room Notebook

Erik Scalavino offers his Friday locker room notes as the Patriots prepare to play the Buffalo Bills

… First day of fall, but the humidity just won't go away here in New England. Nor will the clouds and occasional showers. With that as the backdrop, the Patriots practiced on the Gillette Stadium FieldTurf in preparation for what they'll face Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. Shorts, shells, and helmets were the order of the day.

… Some good news on the injury front, as safety Patrick Chung was back after missing the past two days. He was spotted very late this morning leaving the locker room with a large, black cast on his right arm and hand. According to multiple media reports, he underwent surgery to repair his injured thumb.

… On the other hand, the remaining five absentees from Thursday were not seen again today: tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back), tight ends Aaron Hernandez (knee) and Dan Gronkowski (hamstring), and defensive linemen Albert Haynesworth (back) and Mike Wright (concussion).

… It's looking more and more like rookie Nate Solder will start again at right tackle in Vollmer's stead, as he did in the opener at Miami. Meanwhile, if Hernandez and the elder Gronk can't play, New England would take on Buffalo with just one tight end, Gronkowski's younger brother Rob, unless they decided to call up Garrett Mills from the practice squad. There could be some last-minute transactions over the weekend, leading right up to kickoff.

… Along those lines, punter Zoltan Mesko practiced again for the third day. He was limited the past two days, and he told reporters that today would be crucial to determining if he'll be able to kick Sunday in Buffalo. If he can't, the team will either have to sign a punter or have someone already on the active roster handle those chores.

… Mesko was one of a few players who spoke in the locker room before practice, as did defensive lineman Andre Carter, who is several thousand dollars lighter today. A full locker room interview period recap will appear on later this afternoon.

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