FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots were down two players at the start of Tuesday’s damp, rainy practice, including one who’d been trending toward a return from injured reserve.

Running back Rex Burkhead, who is eligible to be activated off IR next week, was not spotted during the brief portion of practice that was open to the media. Burkhead returned to the practice field Nov. 8 and participated in the Patriots’ lone session last week. He hasn’t played since suffering a neck injury in Week 3.

In order to play again this season, Burkhead must be added to the 53-man roster by next Thursday — three days before the Patriots’ Week 13 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.

Tight end Dwayne Allen also was absent Tuesday after leaving the Patriots’ Week 10 loss to the Tennessee Titans with a knee injury. Initial reports indicated Allen was expected to miss “a few weeks.”

Tight end Rob Gronkowski and right guard Shaq Mason both were present after missing the last two games with injuries.

The Patriots had their bye this past weekend. Tuesday’s practice was their first of the week. They’ll hold additional sessions Wednesday and Friday (with an off day Thursday for Thanksgiving) ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Thumbnail photo via Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports Images