McCourty, Boyce absent from practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots safety Devin McCourty, who left the team's Week 16 game with a concussion, was not spotted at the start of practice on Thursday morning, held in shells and helmets.

McCourty was absent for the team's walk-through on Tuesday and was also listed as a non-participant on the team's simulated injury report submitted on Wednesday.

His status for Sunday's regular-season finale remains unclear, because he'll need to follow NFL protocol for concussions.

Rookie receiver Josh Boyce missed his fifth straight practice because of an ankle injury in Week 15. He was inactive in Week 16, as was rookie wideout Kenbrell Thompkins (hip), though he was present for practice again on Thursday.

If the Patriots are forced to be without McCourty, they probably will turn to fellow Rutgers product Duron Harmon, who has also filled in for Steve Gregory this season while he recovered from a broken thumb.

The Patriots will hold their final practice of the regular season on Friday before hosting the Bills on Sunday.