DE Francis not spotted at practice

The Patriots returned to the practice field on Tuesday and rookie defensive end Justin Francis was the lone player not spotted during the media availability portion of practice, which was held in light shell shoulder pads and helmets.

Francis was present for both of the team's bye week practices, and was not listed on the final injury report in advance of Week 17; the reason behind his absence is unclear.

Defensive end Rob Ninkovich was once again on the practice field, which is perhaps another positive sign in his progress from a Week 17 hip injury.

The team will release its initial practice report for the Divisional Round game on Wednesday.