FOXBORO -- Tom Brady's depleted receiving corps seems to be on the verge of becoming less so.
After missing New England's last three games, it appears as though rookie receiver Aaron Dobson could be close to a return. He told reporters in the Patriots locker room on Thursday that he was feeling good and that he thought he would try to be out on the field Sunday against the Ravens.
"I think so," Dobson said. "I'm just going through the week, trying to progress and we'll see how it feels in a week."
Dobson began practicing last week and was listed as questionable going into New England's game with Miami. He was eventually ruled out with a foot injury that he originally suffered against the Broncos in Week 12.
Dobson, who was limited in Wednesday's practice, said it has been hard to miss time.
"You know, it's tough but I'm just trying to get off that and try to get back on the field," he said, "do what I can in practice and trying to improve."
While he wasn't able to practice, Dobson explained that he stayed up on his homework and kept his head in the Patriots playbook.
"It can affect you if you let it," Dobson said of his time away. "I just stayed in my playbook and tried to keep an edge. I didn't want to fall off my playbook and lose track of my plays so I stayed in my playbook and tried to keep on track."
He added: "I just sit in the meetings. That's all I could do for the past three weeks. It's just all taking mental reps."
Dobson has 35 catches for 492 yard and 4 touchdowns so far this season.
He missed a game-and-a-half in his senior season at Marshall because of injury, which he said has prepared him accustomed to deal with the kind of adversity that accompanies short stints away from the field. He did admit, however, that he'll need to put in some work before his conditioning is back to where it was before he was hurt.
"I feel like I'm OK but I can get my conditioning a little better," Dobson said. "I ain't played in a couple weeks you know so I feel like I can improve on that a little bit."
If Dobson does play, he'll likely see a healthy dose of Ravens corner Jimmy Smith, who helped keep Lions wideout Calvin Johnson out of the end zone. Johnson finished with six catches for 98 yards on 14 targets.
"He's a good player," Dobson said of Smith. "We're going to have to compete with him. He competes a lot. I gotta go out there and do my job. He's a good all around corner. He can be physical, he can run. So I just gotta be on my game."
Dobson's return would provide the Patriots with an outside receiving presence that they have lacked in recent weeks. The Patriots receiving corps has dealt with injuries since Week 1 when Danny Amendola injured his groin against the Bills so having another body will be beneficial. But especially with Rob Gronkowski out for the season, the ability to run Dobson out on the field and use his 6-foot-3 frame in the red zone could be a boon for Brady and Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Fellow rookie wideout Kenbrell Thompkins has also missed the last two games since injuring his hip in Houston during New England's win there in Week 13. He too was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday.