Patriots Practice Report: Rex Burkhead, Alan Branch Return As Playoff Prep Begins

FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots held their first practice of the NFL postseason Wednesday afternoon, and two injured players made their returns to the field.

Running back Rex Burkhead and defensive tackle Alan Branch both participated in practice for the first time since suffering knee injuries in Weeks 14 and 15, respectively.

Burkhead missed the final two games of the regular season, and Branch missed the final three.

Quarterback Tom Brady, who has sat out several Wednesday practices this season, also was present.

Two players were missing from the session: running back Mike Gillislee (knee) and defensive end Eric Lee (ankle). Gillislee missed the Patriots’ final two games, while Lee was listed as questionable for both but played through his injury.

A new player also joined the fray: a linebacker wearing No. 51 who appeared to be Trevor Reilly, who spent time on the Patriots’ 53-man roster earlier this season. He appears to have been signed to the practice squad, as practice-squad wide receiver Bernard Reedy was not spotted at practice.

Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who returned to practice last week but has yet to be activated off injured reserve, again participated Wednesday.

The Patriots are off this weekend as they prepare to host a divisional-round playoff game at Gillette Stadium next Saturday night.

Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images

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