UPDATE (5:07 P.M. ET): NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Thursday afternoon reported that Hunter Henry’s leg injury is not serious.
ORIGINAL STORY: The injury that sidelined Hunter Henry for much of Thursday’s organized team activities practice did not appear to be serious.
Henry, one of the New England Patriots’ two high-priced tight ends, suffered what appeared to be an ankle/foot injury after a matchup with safety Adrian Colbert early in 11-on-11 drills. He gingerly walked to the sideline and received treatment from a member of the Patriots’ training staff.
After examination, Henry tested his ankle by jogging on a separate field. He then returned to the sideline and did not take another offensive rep, watching the remainder of 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills with his helmet off.
Henry seemed to be in good spirits, however — he could be seen laughing when talking with coaches and teammates — and he eventually returned to the field as a blocker on the field-goal team during the final period of practice.
We’ll see if Henry is present and active when the Patriots begin their three-day mandatory minicamp next Monday, but his participation in that late special teams drill was a positive sign. New England will hold its final voluntary OTA on Friday.
Henry’s new running mate, Jonnu Smith, is among the handful of Patriots players who have yet to practice in front of reporters this spring.
Henry and Smith were the top two tight ends available in the NFL’s latest free agency period, and both signed with New England. Their matching average annual contract values of $12.5 million are tied for the third-highest among NFL tight ends, trailing only George Kittle ($15 million) and Travis Kelce ($14.3 million).
With both aboard, the Patriots are expected to massively increase their usage of two-tight end formations, which were almost entirely absent from their offense last season.
Thursday’s list of practice absences also included wide receiver Nelson Agholor, another member of the Patriots’ star-studded free agent class. Agholor participated in the first two OTAs that were open to the media.