The New England Patriots prepared for the Miami Dolphins on Thursday with two familiar faces back in the fold. Two offensive starters, tight end Aaron Hernandez and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, returned to the practice field after missing Wednesday's session.
Neither of the two Wednesday absences were injury related. Hernandez's absence was not explained in detail beyond that he was not injured, and Green-Ellis sat out due to illness. Both players returned on Thursday as the team practiced in sweats and shells.
Only two players missed Thursday's practice for New England: tackle Sebastian Vollmer and linebacker Brandon Spikes. Spikes has not played since injuring his right knee during Week 9 against the New York Giants.
The Patriots meet the Dolphins on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the first time since beating the Dolphins in the season opener for both teams. New England has already clinched the AFC East title, but their playoff seeding is still in doubt.