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Hernandez, Green-Ellis return

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tight end Aaron Hernandez and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis returned to practice Thursday as the Patriots worked out inside Gillette Stadium on a beautiful day for late December.

Hernandez missed Wednesday's practice for non-injury related reasons, while Green-Ellis missed Wednesday's session with an illness.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes, who has been sidelined with a knee injury, was not spotted at the start of practice.