FOXBORO, Mass. — Wes Welker returned to practice Thursday after missing his first session of the regular season with a neck injury that he likely suffered due to a hit from Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

The wide receiver missed Wednesday's practice, which was most likely a cautionary measure because he returned Thursday when the Patriots were in full pads.

Linebacker Dane Fletcher (thumb) was the only player missing from practice. He has missed all eight of the team's practices since the Patriots' Week 6 victory against the Cowboys.

Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (back) was added to Thursday's injury report because he was limited in practice.

Thursday marked the Patriots' 28th practice of the regular season, not including walkthroughs, and it was the seventh time they practiced in full pads.