McCourty returns to practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty returned to practice on Saturday for the Patriots, their final session of the week before Monday night's tilt with the Chiefs.

McCourty suffered what WBZ-TV reported to be a separated shoulder in Sunday's win over the Jets. He missed the first three practices of this week.

In recent weeks, the Patriots have seen injured players (safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Jerod Mayo) return for the final practice of the week, but not play in that weekend's game. McCourty could fall into that category, making it no guarantee that he plays on Monday night, but improving his chances of returning the following week in Philadelphia.

The team will release its final injury report of the week on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Linebacker Jeff Tarpinian (illness) missed his second straight day of practice, while linebackers Brandon Spikes (knee) and Dane Fletcher (thumb) were absent for the fourth consecutive practice this week. Spikes and Fletcher will likely be out of Monday night's game, while Tarpinian's status remains unclear.

If Tarpinian, who started in Sunday's win in New York, cannot play on Monday night, the Patriots will likely turn to Gary Guyton or Tracy White for an increased role in the defense.

Players were in light shoulder pads again on Saturday, the first time in several weeks the team has not practiced in full pads before a game.