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patriots notebook

Aaron Hernandez among seven out for Patriots

LONDON — The Patriots on Friday named seven players officially out for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams, a list headlined by Aaron Hernandez.

The versatile tight end has been struggling to recover from a sprained right ankle suffered in Week 2. It is not responding to treatment and Hernandez is having difficulty cutting.

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The healing time for an ankle sprain is usually around 4-6 weeks. Hernandez missed three games before returning to play 38 of 87 snaps in Seattle on Oct. 14, catching a touchdown pass among his six receptions. Last Sunday against the Jets, Hernandez was on the field for 57 of 80 snaps. He had five catches for 54 yards.

The increased workload may have led to a setback.

His practice participation has been spotty, and Hernandez was held out of Thursday’s session in Foxborough to receive treatment. The Patriots have their bye week after returning from London, so the hope is that he will see a good deal of improvement during the downtime.

Safety Patrick Chung also was declared out for Sunday. Chung reinjured his shoulder in Seattle and did not play against the Jets.

Additionally, safety Steve Gregory (hip) will miss his fourth straight game. Running back Brandon Bolden (knee), defensive end Trevor Scott (hamstring), and linebacker Tracy White (foot) are unavailable as well. Cornerback Ras-I Dowling was placed on injured reserve Friday with a thigh injury. The absence of both Chung and Gregory means Devin McCourty will be back at safety.

Logan Mankins, who missed the Jets game with calf and hip injuries, is among 11 players listed as questionable. So are linebacker Jerod Mayo (elbow/illness) and wide receiver Wes Welker (ankle).

Dowling down again

Dowling’s second NFL season ended just like his first, on IR. Last year, the second-round pick out of Virginia started the first two games and then suffered a hip injury.

Dowling played in six games this year, recording seven tackles and a pass breakup. He left the Jets game in the second half.

The Patriots did not immediately announce who would take the roster spot. New England enters Sunday’s game with only four healthy cornerbacks: Kyle Arrington, Alfonzo Dennard, Sterling Moore, and Marquice Cole.

Friendly banter

Tom Brady had the line of the day. Asked which two of his teammates he would pick for a road trip across the United States, Brady said, “Oh man, as a single man or a married man?” He went on to say that he would need a bus for all of the teammates he has close relationships with, though the only one he mentioned by name was Welker . . . After coach Bill Belichick said several times it was a “transition day” for the Patriots and there were no plans for practice, the team held a walkthrough in the open at famed Hyde Park.

Greg A. Bedard of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.
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