Danny Amendola, Dont'a Hightower return to practice

USA Today Sports

The Patriots afternoon practice Wednesday provided a good first look at the team's roster heading into Week 3. And while there were some notable absences, especially right tackle Marcus Cannon, many key players also returned to the action ahead of New England's tilt with the Houston Texans.

ESPN's Mike Reiss provided a full list of returns and absences. Among the returning names on that list were players like Danny Amendola and Dont'a Hightower, both of whom have been out since Week 1.

Amendola, who entered concussion protocol after the the Pats' loss to the Chiefs, and Hightower, who also left that game with a knee injury, were expected to be available for Week 2 against the Saints but were downgraded to out on that Friday's injury report. Yesterday was their first practice back from their injuries. Beyond those two, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wideouts Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett were all back on the practice field after getting banged up in the win at New Orleans. Special-teams ace Matthew Slater also returned to action after being absent for the first two games of the season, as did defensive tackle Vincent Valentine and cornerback Eric Rowe.

The team is still missing some important contributors, however. Beyond the aforementioned Cannon, Rex Burkhead is still not at practice with a rib injury. And while many players hurt in Week 2 made it back to practice on Wednesday, some questions are still swirling surrounding their availability for Sunday. With only one healthy wide receiver (Brandin Cooks) on the roster and depth questions on the defensive front seven, some returning players may have to be pressed into service before making a full recovery.

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