Hernandez absent from practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was limited in Thursday's practice with a hip injury, was not present for Friday's practice, held on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium in light shoulder pads and sweatpants.

In the likely event that Hernandez is not ready to play on Sunday, the Patriots will again turn to Alge Crumpler and Rob Gronkowski to carry the load at the tight end position.

Also absent from Friday's practice were offensive lineman Dan Connolly (concussion) and defensive linemen Mike Wright (concussion) and Ron Brace (elbow). All three are not likely to play in Sunday's game against the Dolphins, meaning Ryan Wendell will likely get his second career start at right guard.

Meanwhile, outside linebackers Jermaine Cunningham (calf) and Tully Banta-Cain (groin), as well defensive lineman Myron Pryor (back) were all present for a second straight practice, increasing their chances of playing on Sunday.