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Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins practice for Pats

Tom Brady won't have tight end Rob Gronkowski to throw to anymore this season, but a pair of rookie wide receivers are on their way back for the New England Patriots.

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Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) were on hand for the portion of Wednesday's practice that was open to the media, according to ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss.

The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe noted that Thompkins especially looked "really explosive" in a receiving drill -- a good sign he'll be ready for Sunday's meeting with the Baltimore Ravens.

Neither pass-catcher played in New England's 24-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, in which Brady threw for 357 yards minus Gronk, who tore up his knee against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14.

Here's the rest of Wednesday's injury news:

1. Also for New England, left tackle Nate Solder wasn't at practice after leaving the Dolphins game with a head injury. If he can't make it back for the Ravens tilt, look for guard Logan Mankins to take his place on the outside.

2. Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson (groin, foot) will practice Wednesday, per KTWN-FM's Sean Jensen, meaning there's still a shot the running back could play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

3. All eyes on Green Bay continue to focus on quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone), who took second-team snaps at practice Wednesday. The Packers barred the media from watching team drills, but Rodgers has expressed his desire to return Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

4. More news out of Green Bay, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Running back Eddie Lacy (ankle), the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week, did not practice. Also, wide receiver Randall Cobb practiced for the first time since breaking his tibia in Week 6. However, Cobb was limited (he didn't field any punts) and must be added to the roster in order to be eligible to play Sunday.

5. Brent Grimes left Sunday's win over the Patriots with a groin injury, but the Dolphins cornerback returned to practice Tuesday alongside fellow corner Nolan Carroll, who injured his knee in the game. Both expect to be ready for this weekend's clash against the Buffalo Bills.

6. In Buffalo, rookie quarterback EJ Manuel (knee) was ruled out for the Dolphins game. Coach Doug Marrone, who tabbed Thad Lewis as Sunday's starter, was hopeful that Manuel would return for the season finale in Week 17.

7. Bills running back Fred Jackson (undisclosed), receiver Stevie Johnson (personal) and Aaron Williams (ribs) didn't practice, per ESPN.com's Mike Rodak.

8. Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (quad, hamstring) didn't practice, but Bears coach Marc Trestman wasn't worried. "He'll be fine," Trestman said, via WSCR-AM.

9. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Eagles quarterback Nick Foles had a large abrasion on the back of his throwing hand wrapped in tape. He told reporters it was nothing to lose sleep over ahead of Sunday night's game with the Chicago Bears.

10. Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne told KESN-FM Tuesday that he won't play Sunday against the Washington Redskins because of the nagging hamstring injury that's forced him out of the past three games.

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11. Sean Lee (neck) hasn't been cleared to practice for the Cowboys, either, per The Dallas Morning News. Team owner Jerry Jones expressed concern Tuesday that the talented middle linebacker might not play again this season.

12. Browns running back Willis McGahee (concussion) is cleared to practice and play Sunday against the New York Jets, but not so with Jordan Cameron. Cleveland's ascendant tight end is mired in the league's concussion protocol, per The Plain Dealer, and looms as no sure bet to face Rex Ryan's defense this weekend.

13. Also for the Browns, Joe Haden didn't practice Wednesday after suffering a hip pointer against the Chicago Bears. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier this week that the team's best cornerback might not play again this season.

14. For those of you still paying attention to the New York Giants, Victor Cruz missed Wednesday's session with concussion symptoms, but coach Tom Coughlin was more concerned about the wide receiver's knee injury, which he acknowledged "will probably prevent (Cruz) from doing anything," per ESPN.com's Dan Graziano. Consider Cruz a wild card for Sunday's game versus the Detroit Lions.

15. Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart did not practice Wednesday, per The Charlotte Observer. Coach Ron Rivera said the earliest Stewart would play is Week 17 against the Atlanta Falcons, meaning Stewart likely is out for Sunday's showdown with the New Orleans Saints.

16. Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum has been ruled out of Sunday's matchup with the Denver Broncos due to an injury to his right thumb, per the team's official website. Matt Schaub will get the start in Week 16.

17. Ben Tate's season is over. The running back was placed on the Houston Texans' injured reserve with a rib injury, the team announced.

18. In Seattle, Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip) did not practice Wednesday, coach Pete Carroll told reporters. In addition, Carroll said he was "iffy" on whether or not suspended cornerback Browner (groin) would return to practice in the near future as the team heads into an NFC West clash with the Arizona Cardinals.

19. San Francisco fullback Bruce Miller will not be available for the 49ers' Monday night tilt against the Atlanta Falcons as he was placed on injured reserve with a fractured scapula, the team announced. The Niners then brought back defensive end Will Tukuafu, who was released in September but previously has served as a fullback in short-yardage situations.

20. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (concussion) was held out of practice, but coach Bruce Arians is optimistic that his star pass-catcher will be ready for the team's crucial Sunday clash with the Seahawks. Quarterback Carson Palmer (ankle) was helmetless and did not participate in practice, too.

21. Finally, Cincinnati's Kevin Huber was back in the locker room Wednesday, reminding us all that punters are people, too:


The latest "Around The League Podcast" broke down the Cowboys' loss and every other Week 15 game.

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