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Patriots rule out Alfonzo Dennard

The New England Patriots downgraded cornerback Alfonzo Dennard to out for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans with a knee injury, it was announced Saturday night.

Dennard, a starting cornerback, reportedly underwent a minor procedure prior to the team's Week 11 game against the Carolina Panthers, which he missed.

He returned to the lineup against the Denver Broncos the following week, but was limited and forced to leave the game. After practicing Wednesday, Dennard missed Thursday's practice before practicing on a limited basis on Friday.

Fellow cornerbacks Aqib Talib (hip), Kyle Arrington (groin) and Marquice Cole (shin) are all listed as questionable to play. All three look to be on course to play against Houston, however, and Talib and Arrington are projected to start with rookie Logan Ryan serving as the team's third cornerback.

Dennard, a second-year cornerback out of Nebraska, became a starter during the home stretch of the 2012 regular season and has 35 tackles and an interception this season.