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RB Travaris Cadet joins growing list of banged-up Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Arguably the biggest takeaway from the New England Patriots' training camp practice Saturday was not what happened on the field, but who wasn't there to take part in it.

A whopping total of 23 players were sidelined, and then about halfway through the session, running back Travaris Cadet joined them when he appeared to grab for his left hamstring during a special-teams coverage drill.

Cadet, the former Saint who had impressed at times with his speed and sure hands as a possible option to replace Shane Vereen, walked off to the locker room and kicked his right foot into the ground in frustration. He was the fourth player in two days to sustain an injury, joining running back LeGarrette Blount (sprained MCL, per the Boston Globe), center Bryan Stork and defensive tackle Malcom Brown.

Others who have been sidelined in the past week include receivers Julian Edelman (came up a bit gimpy Sunday) and Aaron Dobson (hamstring, per the Boston Herald), linebackers Eric Martin, Darius Fleming and Matt Wells; and tight end Scott Chandler.

Meanwhile, the Patriots had already opened camp with nine players on either the physically unable to perform or non-football injury list, while linebacker Dont'a Hightower remains in a red non-contact jersey because he's not fully cleared after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.

With so many absences, practice has been uneven and choppy at times as new players work their way into the mix. Bill Belichick could be heard imploring players to pick up the pace at times Saturday, as the past four days have seemed to be somewhat sluggish, and he called everyone together for an in-practice huddle at one point.

Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, another player still not fully cleared after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, described it as the "dog days" of camp.

A few other observations from practice:

  • Quarterback Tom Brady's rollout and long run up the right sideline drew the biggest reaction from the crowd, which was generally quiet. Brady seemed to take pleasure in the 50-or-so-yard jaunt, tip-toeing into the end zone near the pylon, even as defenders seemed to pull up and not play all the way through the whistle.

  • A few hours after Belichick mentioned that undrafted rookie Chris Harper (Cal) has shown the ability to return punts, Harper drew a reaction from the crowd on one return with a sharp cut and explosion to the sideline.

  • With Stork not practicing at center, undrafted rookie David Andrews and third-year man Josh Kline split reps. Andrews, of Georgia, hasn't looked out of place.

  • Belichick directed players to the hill behind the practice fields at the end of the session for conditioning work.

  • Players are off Sunday. The next practice is Monday (1:45 p.m. ET).