Dennard, three others miss practice

Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (knee) joined offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle), wide receiver Aaron Dobson (foot) and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (knee) as the absent Patriots for Thursday's practice.

Dennard, who reportedly underwent a recent procedure on his knee, missed the team's Week 11 game against the Panthers but returned to action for Week 12, though he was clearly limited by the injury.

Hoomanawanui left the Panthers game with the knee injury and did not play last Sunday night against the Broncos, while both Dobson and Cannon were injured in Week 12.

Cornerbacks Aqib Talib (hip), Kyle Arrington (groin) and Marquice Cole (shin) and starting safety Steve Gregory (thumb) were among those limited at practice.

The Patriots will take the practice field once more on Friday afternoon before traveling on Saturday to Houston to face the Texans on Sunday afternoon.