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Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Mankins, Vollmer return to practice

By Mike Rodak

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots were at full strength for their first practice of the week on Tuesday, as guard Logan Mankins and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer both returned to the field.

Vollmer had not practiced or played since suffering a foot injury against the Eagles in Week 12. Mankins went down with a knee injury in Week 16 against Miami.

Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, quarterback Tom Brady, and wide receiver Wes Welker, who missed the Patriots' final practice of their playoff bye week, were back in action on Tuesday.

In addition, newly re-hired offensive assistant coach Josh McDaniels was on the practice field for the first time as a Patriots coach since the 2008 season. He spent the entire media access portion of practice chatting with head coach Bill Belichick.

Meanwhile, when the team broke into positional groups for stretching, the offensive/quarterback group was led by departing offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, while McDaniels stayed with Belichick on the far side of the field.

Practicing outdoors, players were in full pads for the first time in several weeks.