FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots had one key player back at practice Wednesday but were missing several others.
Wide receiver Chris Hogan, who has sat out the last four games, practiced for the first time since injuring his shoulder in New England’s Week 8 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Hogan’s quarterback, however, was absent.
Tom Brady missed practice for the third consecutive Wednesday — likely in an effort to keep the 40-year-old fresh for the stretch run. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, cornerback Malcolm Butler, defensive end Deatrich Wise and tight end Rob Gronkowski also were not spotted.
Cannon missed Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills with an ankle injury, Van Noy left that game after aggravating a calf injury and Gronkowski is barred from practicing this week under the terms of his one-game suspension. The reasons for Butler and Wise sitting out are unclear.
Defensive end Trey Flowers and offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle both practiced after missing Sunday’s game with injuries.
Newly re-signed linebacker Jonathan Freeny also joined the Patriots for practice, filling Gronkowski’s spot on the 53-man roster. Freeny spent brief stints with the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars after New England released him during final roster cuts, but he had been unemployed since late October.
Freeny will wear No. 44 for the Patriots, as his old No. 55 currently belongs to defensive end Eric Lee. Practice-squad tight end Will Tye, who previously wore No. 44, switched to No. 82.
The Patriots held practice indoors in preparation for their Monday night road game against the Miami Dolphins.