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Dont’a Hightower, Danny Amendola again are not seen at practice

Dont'a Hightower hurt his knee in the opener against the Chiefs.
Dont'a Hightower hurt his knee in the opener against the Chiefs.(barry chin/globe staff)

FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots again were without three key cogs at Thursday’s shorts-and-shells practice at Gillette Stadium

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower (sprained knee) and receiver/returner Danny Amendola (concussion/knee), both of whom were injured in the Week 1 loss to the Chiefs, were not spotted during the portion of practice media are allowed to attend.

Additionally, special teams captain Matthew Slater was not on the field. He has been out since early in camp with a hamstring injury.

The absences cast serious doubt on whether the three players will be available for Sunday’s matchup with the Saints in New Orleans.

Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine, who has been rehabbing a knee injury for about two weeks, returned to the practice field.

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Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.