Since Hernandez talked to reporters earlier Thursday, his absence, and likely Mankins' as well, could be considered more a case of the team managing their health than a serious injury concern.
Also not spotted were running back Brandon Bolden (knee), linebacker Tracy White (foot), and safety Steve Gregory (hip). Neither Bolden nor White were at the team's walk-through on Wednesday, indicating that their injuries could be more long-term. Bolden left Sunday's game in Seattle, while White was spotted in a walking boot recently.
With the Patriots set to wear throwback uniforms on Sunday against the Jets, 1980s-era white helmets were hanging by players' lockers on Thursday morning. White and Gregory still had silver helmets at their lockers, while Bolden's chair was folded up.
Meanwhile, no players on PUP, NFI, or IR-DFR returned to practice on Thursday, the first full practice they would be eligible to resume practicing. Defensive tackle Myron Pryor (PUP), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (IR-DFR), tight end Jake Ballard (PUP), and offensive lineman Markus Zusevics (NFI) can all begin practicing as soon as this week.
Thursday's session was held in light shoulder pads. The Patriots have not practiced in full pads since Sept. 27.