FOXBORO, Mass. — Four key players were missing from the Patriots’ first practice of Week 17.

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle), offensive tackle Trent Brown (illness) and safeties Jabrill Peppers (hamstring) and Jalen Mills (concussion) all were not participating during the open media portion of Wednesday’s non-padded session, which was held inside New England’s indoor facility.

Stevenson, Brown and Peppers all were not spotted. Mills was in attendance but not in uniform.

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Stevenson has not played or practiced since suffering a high ankle sprain during the Patriots’ Week 13 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. After practice, Stevenson was placed on injured reserve to clear a roster spot for newly claimed cornerback Marco Wilson.

Brown played in last Sunday night’s win over the Denver Broncos but did not start. Arguably the Patriots’ best offensive lineman when healthy, the big left tackle started just one of the last seven games and hasn’t seen a full gameday workload since late October. Brown has been listed on nearly every Patriots injury report this season with more than a half-dozen different ailments.

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Peppers is on the shortlist for Patriots MVP this season, hardly leaving the field on defense before a hamstring injury kept him out of the Denver game. He has 73 tackles, two interceptions, seven passes defended, five tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one sack in 14 appearances.

Mills’ role shrank this season following a move from cornerback to safety, but he was New England’s primary Peppers replacement against the Broncos, playing a season-high 90% of defensive snaps. Losing both players for this Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills likely would result in larger roles for Adrian Phillips and/or rookie Marte Mapu.

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An additional nine players were limited in Wednesday’s practice, according to the Patriots’ first Week 17 injury report:

DL Christian Barmore, Knee
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, Knee
DB Myles Bryant, Chest
TE Hunter Henry, Knee
LB Anfernee Jennings, Illness
CB Jonathan Jones, Knee
ST Matthew Slater, Hamstring
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ankle
CB Shaun Wade, Hip

Henry, Smith-Schuster and Slater did not play against Denver. Jones and Wade received medical attention during the game.

With Bryant, who ranks fourth among Patriots defenders in snaps played this season, also now dealing with an injury, seventh-round rookie Alex Austin is the only fully healthy cornerback on New England’s roster.

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The Patriots made a move to fortify that unit Wednesday, reportedly claiming former Arizona Cardinals starter Marco Wilson off waivers.

New England is scheduled to practice again Thursday and Friday before traveling to Buffalo.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images