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Quick Kicks: Thu 11/29 practice & locker room notes

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The team got a bit of a boost health-wise with the returns of right guard Dan Connolly (back) and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee), both of whom missed Wednesday's workout.

Left guard Logan Mankins (left ankle, calf), tight end Rob Gronkowski (left forearm) and rookie defensive end Chandler Jones (right ankle) were not on the field, nor was rookie offensive lineman Markus Zusevics (illness). All four were absent yesterday as well.

Safety Patrick Chung (shoulder/hamstring) spoke with reporters this week for the first time since returning to game action on Thanksgiving. Proclaiming himself "getting better," Chung was asked about where he now fits into the Patriots' secondary. The four-year pro from Oregon, who used to be a regular starter before the injury, was inserted mostly as a nickel and dime defender in sub packages against the Jets. "Wherever Coach wants me, that's where I'm going to play at," he insisted, adding about his return to the field in any capacity, "It felt good, man, to get back out there and just dig my cleats into the grass a little bit. It's all good, man."

Rookie defensive end Justin Francis, who could benefit in terms of playing time by the suspension to Jermaine Cunningham, was asked if he has the flexibility to play an inside rush position, like Cunningham has at times this season. "I like getting after the quarterback. Wherever coach want me to play, I'll play. If it's quarterback, it's quarterback. If it's cornerback, it's cornerback, but I don't think I'll be playing any of those positions," Francis remarked with a smile. "So whatever coach wants me to play and however I can get to the quarterback, that's all that matter to me."

The locker room is being open for player interviews around 3:30 this afternoon again. The injury report should be released during the 4 o'clock hour. We'll update both later on the blog.

UPDATE… 4:32 PM

The only update to New England's injury report involved the two aforementioned players who returned to practice. Both Vollmer and Connolly were limited today. The other 17 players listed were the same as yesterday.

Miami updated just one player, fullback Jorvorskie Lane (knee), who was limited as well after not practicing Wednesday.

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