Vereen returns; Connolly absent

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Holding their first practice of the week on Wednesday, the Patriots were without guard Dan Connolly, who left Sunday's game in Tennessee with a head injury.

Running back Shane Vereen, who has been out since Aug. 24 with a foot injury, returned to the field. He could give a boost to the Patriots' backfield after missing the regular season opener.

Connolly's health will be monitored throughout the week, as his absence in Sunday's home opener against Arizona could vault Donald Thomas, Marcus Cannon, or Nick McDonald into a starting role at right guard.

The Patriots practiced in shells (light shoulder pads), a somewhat unusual occurrence for a Wednesday in the regular season.