Dobson's absence adds injury context

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots rookie receiver Aaron Dobson was not present for the start of today's practice, which adds context to a personnel switch the team made in the second half of Sunday's 34-31 overtime win against the Broncos.

Dobson, it appears, was dealing with some form of injury. That would explain why he played only two of his 37 snaps in the second half. He was replaced by fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins, who played 41 of his 44 snaps in the second half.

On Tuesday, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was asked about the switch from Thompkins to Dobson and referenced the idea of riding the hot hand as Thompkins had some immediate production in the third quarter to spark the stagnant offense.

It appears there was also some injury consideration in play with Dobson, which will become clearer when the team releases its first injury report later Wednesday. The injury status of linebacker Dont'a Hightower will also be something to note, as he didn't play the final 45 minutes of Sunday's game.

Elsewhere at practice, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (knee) and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (ankle) were the other players not spotted. There was also a new player on the field who appeared to be an offensive lineman.

The Patriots practiced inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse because of rain and high winds in the region.