FOXBOROUGH — Reinforcements have arrived.
The Patriots returned to practice Wednesday and welcomed back some sorely missed players who had been recuperating and rehabbing on various unavailable lists.
Center David Andrews, linebacker Josh Uche, and defensive tackle Beau Allen all came off injured reserve and were back for the full-pads session held in a light mist.
Andrews has been out since Week 2 after suffering a right thumb injury that required surgery in the loss to the Seahawks. In his place, left guard Joe Thuney started a pair of games sandwiched around a James Ferentz start.
If Andrews can return for Sunday’s game against the 49ers, it would return some order to an offense line that used three different combinations against the Broncos last Sunday. Thuney and left tackle Isaiah Wynn (who started at left guard against Denver) would return to their normal spots.
Uche, a rookie second-round pick, has yet to make his pro debut. He was a healthy scratch for two games before a foot injury necessitated a trip to IR. Uche had a strong camp and has experience in a number of roles both on and off the ball.
For Allen, it was the first time the seven-year veteran signed in March has been on the practice field with teammates as he dealt with an undisclosed injury.
Lawrence Guy was happy to have a fellow interior defender in the mix.
“Yeah, it felt good getting back out there, and he missed a couple weeks at the beginning of the season, so have to get him through individual [drills], get him into some rushing team [drills], get him back, get him healthy,” said Guy. “I’m looking forward to seeing the improvement every single day.”
Defensive tackle Carl Davis also made his debut after being signed off the Jaguars practice squad last week.
Devin McCourty was happy with the energy level ― and sense of normalcy — at the session. It was New England’s first Wednesday practice since Sept. 30.
“When we’re out there full pads on Wednesdays, we’re going to get our fundamentals in there. Whether it’s taking on blocks, covering . . . we’re going to do that. That’s a huge part whenever we’re in pads. So that definitely showed up. We might have talked about it more just because we haven’t been on the practice field a lot in the last two weeks, but I would say it was more of a normal Wednesday of the fundaments, but heavy, heavy game-planning, trying to prepare and get ready to take on San Francisco.”
Back in the mix
New England also had three players return from the COVID-19 list: defensive tackle Byron Cowart, who tested positive after the Kansas City game, along with defensive end Derek Rivers and right guard Shaq Mason, who were placed on the list for reasons other than a positive test (such as being exposed to someone who had) . . . Ferentz remained on the list and out of practice . . . Running back James White (not injury-related) and right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (ankle), who was placed on injured reserve, did not practice . . . Four players were limited: defensive tackle Adam Butler (shoulder), receiver Julian Edelman (knee), safety Kyle Dugger (ankle), and Mason (calf) . . . The 49ers had four DNPs at practice, including running back Raheem Mostert, left tackle Trent Williams, and linebacker Kwon Alexander (all with ankle woes); and safety Jaquiski Tartt (groin) . . . Former Patriots punter/quarterback Tom Yewcic, a member of the 1960s All-Decade Team, passed away. He was 88.