Boyce has been serving as the primary kickoff returner and was playing a top role at receiver with fellow rookies Aaron Dobson (three games missed with foot injury) and Kenbrell Thompkins (two games missed with hip injury) sidelined.
With Dobson and Thompkins looking like they are nearing a return, it could offset the loss of Boyce at receiver. The Patriots would most likely turn to running back LeGarrette Blount or safety Devin McCourty for kickoff return duties.
Boyce was the only player not present at practice, meaning that starting left tackle Nate Solder (concussion) was on the practice field for the second straight day. Solder was limited in Thursday's practice.
After two days of practicing on the Gillette Stadium game field, the Patriots held practice on their lower grass practice field Friday.