FOXBORO, Mass. — Second-round draft pick Shane Vereen returned to the practice field Wednesday after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, and defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth participated in his second straight padded practice for the Patriots.
This is only the third practice for Vereen, who had missed 14 consecutive practices since he last took the field Aug. 3. Because of his limited amount of reps over the last month, it's not a certainty that he'll play Saturday in Detroit, but it's an obvious step in the right direction.
Bill Belichick's longtime friend Jon Bon Jovi also made his annual appearance at practice.
Left tackle Nate Solder, safety Josh Barrett and tight end Lee Smith also returned to practice. Solder was not present Tuesday, and Smith had been out for the last three sessions. Barrett hadn't participated in practice since July 29.
The Patriots were missing 14 players from Wednesday's session — the fewest absences at any practice since they were without 12 players Aug. 4.
Running back Stevan Ridley, cornerback Leigh Bodden, running back Kevin Faulk, cornerback Malcolm Williams, running back Eric Kettani, linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, linebacker Dane Fletcher, linebacker Brandon Spikes, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, offensive lineman Ryan Wendell, defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, defensive lineman Ron Brace and defensive lineman Mike Wright were all absent.
Offensive lineman Mike Berry rejoined the team and participated at practice, and safety Bret Lockett was also officially placed on injured reserve after clearing waivers.