Alfonzo Dennard back at practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (knee) returned to practice for the Patriots on Friday after missing Thursday's workout.

Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle), wide receiver Aaron Dobson (foot) and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (knee) were not spotted, however, and none of them has practiced at all this week, making them unlikely to suit up on Sunday.

Should Cannon sit, veteran Will Svitek is likely to take over his role, making him the third player to start a game at right tackle this season. The Patriots signed tight end D.J. Williams this week, perhaps as insurance for the possibility of Hoomanawanui sitting. Fellow rookie wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins stepped up in the second half of Week 12 once Dobson's availability was limited.

Dennard also practiced on Wednesday, but if he is unable to play this Sunday, rookie cornerback Logan Ryan will likely join Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington -- who are also playing through injuries right now -- among the top three cornerback trio.

The Patriots practiced in shells and helmets.