BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots continued to work their way back toward full health at Friday’s practice. Running back Rex Burkhead (ribs) returned after missing five practice sessions in a row, while the team had full attendance.

Burkhead originally injured his ribs during the Patriots’ Week 2 win over the New Orleans Saints. He had caught three passes from Tom Brady for 41 yards and a touchdown before the injury, adding two rushes for three yards.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, Burkhead “was visibly tentative while trying to stretch his core” during warmups on Friday at Gillette Stadium. It remains unlikely that he will suit up on Sunday against the Panthers; it’s possible that the Patriots are preparing Burkhead to instead return in Week 5 at the Buccaneers.

Burkhead was the only Patriot who did not participate in Wednesday or Thursday’s practices. Danny Amendola (knee), Marcus Cannon (ankle/concussion), Phillip Dorsett (knee), Nate Ebner (shoulder), Stephon Gilmore (groin), Dont’a Hightower (knee), Eric Rowe (groin), and Matthew Slater (hamstring) were all listed as limited participants on both days.

On the Panthers’ side, center Ryan Kalil, cornerback Daryl Worley, wide receiver Curtis Samuel, linebacker Jeremy Cash, and defensive end Daeshon Hall have all been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

The Patriots’ full injury report will be released Friday afternoon.


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