Patriots Practice Notes: Starting Receiver Returns; Two Absent

Some positive injury news for the Patriots


Jan 4, 2023

FOXBORO, Mass. — Amid concerns and uncertainty following Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s frightening injury, the Patriots were back on the practice field Wednesday.

Wide receiver DeVante Parker practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion in New England’s Week 14 road win over the Arizona Cardinals. Parker, a starting wideout for the Patriots, sat out the team’s last three games.

Triple-threat cornerback Marcus Jones and tight end Jonnu Smith, meanwhile, remained sidelined as they recover from concussions that kept them out of Sunday’s victory over the Miami Dolphins. Neither player practiced last week.

Top receiver Jakobi Meyers and cornerback Jonathan Jones both were present at practice after sustaining injuries late in the Miami game, as was corner Jalen Mills, who’s missed five straight games with a groin ailment.

Punter Jake Bailey was not spotted during the open media portion of Wednesday’s practice. Bailey, who was placed on injured reserve with a back issue in mid-November, began practicing two weeks ago but has yet to rejoin the 53-man roster.

The NFL permitted the Patriots to cancel their scheduled media availability Wednesday as players around the league grapple with the aftermath of Hamlin’s hospitalization.

The Buffalo defensive back went into cardiac arrest after a tackle during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals and had to be resuscitated on the field at Paycor Stadium. Hamlin remained in critical condition at University of Cincinnati Medial Center as of midday Wednesday, though reports indicated he was making positive progress.

The league suspended the Bills-Bengals game and will not resume it this week, but it has yet to make any alterations to its Week 18 schedule. The Patriots are scheduled to visit the Bills at Highmark Stadium this Sunday in a game with significant playoff implications for both teams.

New England can clinch a postseason berth with a win or losses by Miami, Pittsburgh and Tennessee, while Buffalo is one of three teams vying for the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple
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