It was no surprise that Vince Wilfork wasn't at practice Wednesday morning. The defensive tackle and co-captain reportedly ruptured his right Achilles tendon in the first quarter of Sunday night's game at Atlanta and is likely out for the rest of the season. The Patriots, however, have yet to assign Wilfork to season-ending injured reserve. That move could come soon, though.
Co-captain Matthew Slater remains missing from action with a wrist issue. The wide receiver/special teams ace joined Wilfork and running back Stevan Ridley as the only three players not in attendance at the start of today's workout. It's unclear why Ridley was absent, but an explanation will be forthcoming no later than 4 o'clock EST this afternoon, when the injury/practice participation report is released.
Meanwhile, there was some significance to which players were at practice, including, naturally, wide receiver Danny Amendola (right groin) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (back/left forearm). Both stars have been practicing consistently but haven't played, aside from Amendola's stellar debut in Week 1. Amendola appeared to run more smoothly than he has in recent practices. Rookie receiver Aaron Dobson (neck) was also in uniform, despite suffering what initially looked like a severe blow to the head in the third quarter against the Falcons.
](/fan-zone/patriots-football-weekly.html)Dobson, incidentally, was one of three players awarded the coveted black jerseys for Practice Players of the Week (given only after victories to those who helped out most of the scout teams). Rookie cornerback Logan Ryan and practice squad rookie o-lineman Braxton Cave were the other two.
Two other notables back on the field were cornerback Marquice Cole, who was cut at the end of last week because of a hamstring issue, presumably. He was replaced on the active roster by practice squad rookie safety Kanorris Davis, who was subsequently released on Monday. Cole was re-signed to the 53, while Davis was brought back to the p-squad.
New England broke a recent tradition of going full pads on Wednesdays. The team was in shells for this session.
Media interviews with players will begin after practice around midday/early afternoon.
UPDATE… 4:37 p.m.
Over the weekend, media reports stated that Gronk and his closest advisors have been the ones keeping him off the game field, because they're being cautious about bringing him back too soon. Today, Gronk told reporters that he and the team's brass are "on the same page" when it comes to his injuries, rehab, and comeback timetable, and that the two sides have been so "from the get-go."
Meanwhile, Amendola replied, "I'm trying to prepare myself for that," when asked about the possibility of his returning to game action this Sunday afternoon at Cincinnati.
Rookie d-tackle Chris Jones, who saw considerable action against Atlanta after Wilfork went down early, admitted to feeling some jitters when he got into the game. "I was a little nervous at first, and that kind of made things go faster. So I just had to slow down and I got the hang of it. I feel like it can be a lot slower for Cincinnati for me."
Ridley's absence turned out to be because of a knee problem. He did not practice at all Wednesday. Meanwhile, 15 other Patriots were listed as "limited" in their participation, including Dobson, linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee), and rookie WR Kenbrell Thompkins (shoulder).