Mankins returns to practice, Haynesworth limited

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Mankins returns to practice, Haynesworth limited

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- Offensive lineman Logan Mankins returned to Patriots practice on Thursday at Gillette Stadium, after missing Wednesday with an illness.

Four Patriots were missing from the media portion of Thursday's shells and shorts session. Those players were defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (back), tight end Aaron Hernandez (knee), defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion), and offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer (back).

Haynesworth was ultimately reported by the team as a "limited" participant in Thursday's practice. Hernandez, Vollmer and Wright did not participate.

Safety Patrick Chung (thumb), cornerback Ras-I Dowling (hip), cornerback Kyle Arrington (chest), cornerback Leigh Bodden (groin), defensive lineman Shaun Ellis (knee), linebacker Gary Guyton (hamstring), linebacker Jerod Mayo (thigh), punter Zoltan Mesko (knee), receiver Taylor Price (hamstring), offensive lineman Ryan Wendell (calf). Josh Barrett (thumb) and Dane Fletcher (thumb) were both full participants.

For the Raiders, Darren McFadden (groin, shoulder) practiced fully. Quarterback Jason Campbell (foot) and wide receiver Jacoby Ford (hamstring) were limited participants. Wide receiver Louis Murphy (groin), linebacker Ricky Brown (concussion), cornerback Chris Johnson (hamstring), running back Marcel Reece (ankle) and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder) did not practice.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

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Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

FOXBORO - If Alan Branch is worried about his spot with the Patriots, he isn’t acting that way. A notorious slow starter, Branch played just six snaps in Sunday’s win at New Orleans. And to hear him talk, it’s business as usual.

“It’s not like you can practice 3 technique on a store clerk,” said Branch late Wednesday afternoon. When informed that he probably could if he wanted, Branch smiled and noted “you’d probably get arrested for that.”

All kidding aside, it was stark to see Branch’s ample behind stapled to the bench. He earned a two-year contract this offseason, and his presence on the interior has been critical to the defense’s success. But after getting pushed around a bit too often in that opening night loss to the Chiefs, Branch spent a lot more time watching then playing. Did he know that he wasn’t a big part of the plan?

“That’s another question you gotta ask Bill, man” said Branch. “That’s not something I can talk about.”

Branch has - at times - come off as nonchalant about the game. Wins, losses, big plays, no plays, none of it seems to change his demeanor. Knowing that, I asked him if he was frustrated by his lack of playing time.

“I mean every player wants to be on the field so it is what it is,” he responded. 

Does he think that he’ll be more involved Sunday against the Texans?

“I don’t know what they plan to do with me,” he said. “i just need to go in there and keep my head to the grindstone and work.”

That may be Bill Belichick’s plan: sitting the player to motivate him. It would also seem to be potentially the last resort, and with someone who clearly marches to the beat of his own drum, it’s unclear how he’ll respond.

Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk sits out; Gilmore limited

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Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk sits out; Gilmore limited

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Texans game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle/concussion)
TE Rob Gronkowski (groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (concussion/knee)
WR Phillip Dorsett (knee)
CB Stephon Gilmore (groin)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
WR Chris Hogan (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (thumb)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)
DT Vincent Valentine (knee)

HOUSTON TEXANS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
G Jeff Allen (ankle)
CB Kevin Johnson (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
TE Stephen Anderson (concussion)
RB Alfred Blue (ankle)
WR Will Fuller V (shoulder)
CB Jonathan Joseph (shoulder)
G Xavier Su'a-Filo (knee)
DE J.J. Watt (finger)

FULL PARTICIPATION
CB Marcus Burley (knee)
T Chris Clark (wrist)
WR Bruce Ellington (concussion)
TE Ryan Griffin (concussion)