A league source has confirmed that Visanthe Shiancoe returned to practice Tuesday.
The tight end was placed on the NFL's new short-term injured reserve on September 5. His ailment was never disclosed.
The "designated to return" rule allows a player to begin practicing again six weeks after being placed on IR; he is eligible to return to the Active List after the eighth week.
But there is a caveat: Shiancoe must be activated to the 53-man roster within 21 days or else remain on IR for the rest of the year.
ESPNBoston was first to report.
FOXBORO -- The Patriots had both of their qurterbacks on the field and suited up for Tuesday's shells-and-sweats practice on the fields behind Gillette Stadium.
Both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) are dealing with injuries, but both were present for the session, as were the rest of their teammates on the 53-man roster.
Brissett was spotted in the Patriots locker room before practice with no brace or wrap of any kind on his thumb, but he did have his right thumb taped when out on the field.
Patriots tight end AJ Derby was the lone player in a black practice jersey, indicating that he has been named practice player of the week. Running low on quarterbacks, Derby may have served as the scout-team quarterback as the Patriots defense prepared for the Texans. He played the position at Iowa and Arkansas before changing positions.
The Patriots have four practices scheduled this week, and the team will release injury reports, as usual, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
FOXBORO - Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett made his way through the locker room Tuesday morning without any splint, tape or cast on his right thumb.
"Never seen so many people looking at my hand," Brissett joked as he passed.
Brissett said he wasn't addressing the media en masse on Tuesday but when asked if he's feeling "tip-top," he answered, "Oh yeah."
Brissett injured the thumb Thursday in the second half of the win over Houston.
We reported it was a "minor" injury that wouldn't need surgery.
Brissett, for what it's worth, was carrying a binder in his right hand.