FOXBORO -- Special teams captain Matthew Slater has returned to practice. The on-field appearance is his first since suffering a wrist fracture in New England's Week 2 win over the Jets. Slater has been in a hard cast and still has that wrist wrapped up, so he'll likely be limited in the workout. But easing him back into the routine now keeps him on the left side of the projected 4-6 week timeline.
Stevan Ridley, sidelined with a thigh bruise, was not spotted for the third time this week. The running back's absences put his status for Sunday's game against the Bengals in serious question.
The Patriots had an otherwise full house and practiced in shells under overcast skies. As Bill Belichick noted earlier in the morning, the team leaves for Cincinnati tomorrow.