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Aaron Hernandez doesn't make Patriots' London trip

The New England Patriots are doing everything possible to keep this week normal after traveling to London to face the St. Louis Rams. But they won't have their normal starting lineup on the field Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

A source told NFL Network on Friday morning that tight end Aaron Hernandez did not make the trip to London with the Patriots. Hernandez played the last two weeks after missing time with a high ankle sprain, but he hasn't looked 100 percent despite being productive.

The Patriots officially ruled out Hernandez later Friday.

Hernandez's ankle just isn't right at the moment, and he has not recovered from the injury as initially expected, a source who has spoken with the player told NFL.com and NFL Network reporter Albert Breer.

With a bye week coming after the game in London, the Patriots apparently decided to play it safe and try to get Hernandez fully ready for the second half of the season.

Rob Gronkowski has played his best football of the season recently and should be a bigger factor than ever on the offense. Wes Welker leads the NFL in yards and is second in receptions, but he will have a difficult matchup this week with Cortland Finnegan likely taking him from the slot.

The Patriots ruled out the following players for Sunday's game against the Rams: Brandon Bolden, Patrick Chung, Ras-I Dowling, Steve Gregory, Trevor Scott and Tracy White.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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