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Wes Welker, Peyton Manning back at Broncos practice

Wes Welker has taken a positive step toward an active return to his old stomping grounds.

NFL Media's Steve Cyphers reports the Denver Broncos wide receiver practiced Thursday as the team continues to prepare for its Sunday night matchup against the New England Patriots.

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Welker's status has been unclear since being diagnosed with a concussion that he suffered during Sunday night's 27-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Welker still is working through the league's concussion protocol and must be cleared by an independent neurologist to play this weekend.

Quarterback Peyton Manning (ankle) and tight end Julius Thomas (knee) also returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday.

Welker spent six hugely productive seasons with the Patriots before leaving the team through free agency in 2013. He enters Sunday with 61 catches for 648 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns.

Some other Thursday injury updates from around the league:

  1. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson expects to play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, while scoffing at the suggestion he could benefit from a week off to rest his ailing groin. "I know my body," he said.
  1. Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (hamstring) missed his second straight practice. Rashad Jennings likely will continue to eat Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
  1. Shea McClellinpracticed for the second consecutive day. The Chicago Bears defensive end has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury but expects to play Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" previewed "Thursday Night Football" and "stuck a fork" in three unlucky teams.

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