Aaron Hernandez back at practice

Updated: October 4, 2012, 5:44 PM ET
By Mike Rodak | ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez returned to practice Thursday for the first time since injuring his ankle Sept. 16 against the Cardinals.

Hernandez, whose versatility makes the Patriots a tougher offense to defend, has missed the last two games and has six receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown on the year.

In addition to Hernandez, tight ends Rob Gronkowski (hip) and Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) returned to practice.

All three players were limited, as was quarterback Tom Brady, according to the team's official participation report.

The three players not in attendance were cornerback Ras-I Dowling, safety Steve Gregory and receiver Julian Edelman Dowling's absence was not injury related, according to the report.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter



  • Long Walk To Victory
    Jackie Bradley got the big hit to finally make Chicago pay for 15 bases on balls.
  • Playing Favorites
    Scott Burnside explains why he's picking the Bruins to win the Cup.
  • Protection Priority
    Tuesday's bomb hoax served as a reminder that security is at the forefront.
  • This Is The End
    The C's ended 2013-14 with a loss, but Danny Ainge is optimistic about next year.
  • A Marathon, Indeed
    William Evans walks us through one of Boston's most harrowing weeks.