FOXBORO -- Aaron Hernandez will not be active for New England's afternoon tilt against the Bills. The tight end suffered an ankle sprain against the Cardinals in Week 2 and missed the next three games. He returned to play against Seattle and the Jets. But the Patriots re-shelved Hernandez in Week 8, as he didn't even travel to London to face the Rams abroad.
Apparently, even after added rest during the bye, he's still not ready to come down again.
New England will, however, have tight end Visanthe Shiancoe active against Buffalo. It's the first game of 2012 for Shiancoe, who spent the early part of the season on short-term IR.
Guard Logan Mankins will play today after missing the Patriots' last two games.
Safety Steve Gregory is also in. It's his first activation since injuring his hip against the Bills in Week 4. His partner in the backend of the secondary, Pat Chung, is sidelined for the third straight week with a nagging shoulder issue.
The full list of Patriots inactives:
TE Aaron Hernandez
S Pat Chung
DL Ron Brace
DB Malcolm Williams
DE Jake Bequette
DE Trevor Scott
LB Tracy White
Inactive for the Bills:
DE Mark Anderson
QB Tarvaris Jackson
DE Chris Kelsay
LB Kirk Morrison
DB Mana Silva
OT Thomas Welch
CB Aaron Williams
BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins welcomed back Tuukka Rask to the Warrior Ice Arena practice sheet on Friday morning after he took more than a week off the ice after re-aggravating his lower body injury in last week’s win over the Devils.
Rask took part in 3-on-3 battle drills for a large chunk of the practice while backups Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban, both still with the team, practiced at the other end of the ice for most of the session.
It remains to be seen if Rask can go against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, while troubled early in the season by the reported hamstring/groin issues, but the Finnish netminder was clearly practicing like he was going to play in Motown.
It’s just as clear they desperately need him back given the shaky state of their defense after allowing a ghoulish 11 goals in their past two losses to the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers.
David Backes was still missing from the practice ice while recovering from his elbow procedure, so Claude Julien was again mixing and matching the lines amid a three-game losing streak.
Here are the line combos and D-pairings from practice:
FOXBORO - Dion Lewis was on the practice field for the first time on Thursday afternoon. The running back, who tore his ACL last season then sustained a patella stress fracture over the summer, will now have a maximum of three weeks to work out with the team before the Patriots decide whether to activate him or put him on injured reserve.
Predictably, Bill Belichick was not particularly revealing when asked about Lewis' re-entry.
"Well, he's been out there doing things with the training staff for a long time, so now it's on to the next step," Belichick explained, adding, "Dion works really hard. No one works harder than Dion."
It's a 53-man tie for the title of "Patriot Who Works Hardest" between Lewis and every other player on the roster who's been described as having nobody ahead of him in the "Works Harder" category.
Anyway, Lewis will not be listed on the injury report until he's activated and that would seem an extreme longshot for this week, though the team would have until Saturday to make that move.