FOXBORO -- As the Patriots prepare for one of the biggest games of the season against the Texans on Monday night, two of its starters have returned to the practice field.
Both Logan Mankins and Chandler Jones were present at the media access portion of today's practice. Though it has not yet been made official if either player will be available on Monday night, things appear to be trending in that direction.
Both players were present at the team's walkthrough on Wednesday. Today's practice was held in sweats and shells.
Offensive lineman Nick McDonald and tight end Rob Gronkowski were both absent from the session.
Mankins hasn't practiced since Week 10 before New England's game with Buffalo. Jones was last seen on the field against Indianapolis in Week 11 before he hurt his ankle.
Running back Brandon Bolden was also back at practice on Thursday, his first since being handed a four-game suspension by the NFL for using performance enhancers.
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BOSTON – For most teams in the NBA, road games are a necessary evil.
Not for the Celtics. At least, not lately.
The Green Team hits the road for its next three games, and that has been a good thing – a real good thing – lately.
Boston (11-8) has won its last four road games, the kind of success that breeds a heightened level of confidence heading into this current trip which begins tonight at Philadelphia.
And it only helps that they hit the road coming off a 97-92 win over Sacramento on Friday.
“We have to carry that momentum with us,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “You know how...anytime in this league, the momentum, you have to stay with it. We’ve been having success away from home. It was big for us to get this win (over the Kings) to start the road trip off.”
A big part of Friday’s victory was the play of Al Horford who finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six blocked shots. The points and rebounds for Horford were both season-highs.
Horford’s breakout performance came on the heels of a 121-114 loss to Detroit, a game in which Boston’s $113 million man (Horford) only took five shots.
“Coach [Brad Stevens] didn’t say anything about going to him just specifically,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “We just found him and made the right play and when he got it he was very aggressive.”
Part of Horford’s success was that he was in more of an attacking mentality. But he also benefited from a Kings defense that didn’t double-team him nearly as much as the Pistons did.
“I got a lot of early looks in the game and like I said [following the Pistons loss] I think the Pistons did a good job defending and doubling and forcing me to pass the ball. [Friday night] I had more opportunities to be aggressive.”
Facing a Sixers team that ranks among the NBA’s worst in several defensive categories, Horford and the rest of his Celtics teammates should have ample opportunities to make plays offensively.
And in doing so, they will be able to add on to what has been an already impressive stretch of play this season away from home.
“I think it will be good,” Horford said. “[Tonight] it’s a Philly team that plays hard and we just want to keep building on [Friday night’s win over Sacramento] and just try to be better.”