BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time all season, LeGarrette Blount was missing from Patriots practice.

The running back was the lone absence from Wednesday’s practice session, as the Patriots prepare for Saturday night’s AFC Divisional round matchup with the Houston Texans.

It doesn’t appear to be anything serious, as Blount’s absence was due to an illness, as noted on New England’s practice participation and injury report. Blount led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns during the regular season, including two against Houston in New England’s 27-0 victory back in Week 3.

While Blount was missing, defensive tackle Alan Branch returned after missing Tuesday’s session. Branch was not listed on Wednesday’s practice report, and did not discuss his Tuesday absence with reporters.

Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was the only Patriot listed as “limited” on Wednesday, still battling the knee injury he suffered against the New York Jets in Week 16.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola (ankle), quarterback Tom Brady (thigh), cornerback Cyrus Jones (knee) and special teams captain Matthew Slater (foot) were all full participants on Wednesday.

The Patriots will have one more practice at Gillette on Thursday leading up to Saturday’s playoff tilt.

Tune in to Saturday’s Patriots-Texans playoff game on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship stations of the New England Patriots. Kickoff is set for 8pm, with pregame coverage beginning on 98.5 FM at 5pm and on WBZ-TV at 6pm. Stay tuned for a special edition of Patriots GameDay at 7pm, and Patriots 5th Quarter following the game. The Sports Hub will bring you three hours of postgame reaction and analysis following the game!


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