Fred Taylor (toe) absent again

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran running back Fred Taylor, who was knocked out of Sunday's win over the Bills with a toe injury, was not spotted at Thursday's practice. It marks the second straight day that Taylor was not spotted at the start of practice.

The Patriots' signing of running back Thomas Clayton today seems to be tied to Taylor's health.

Taylor played 10 snaps Sunday, leaving the game after back-to-back carries in the third quarter. His last play was a run of minus-1 yard. On Monday, when asked about Taylor, coach Bill Belichick said the plan was for him to get treatment Monday and Tuesday, and then determine if he would be ready for practice.

With Taylor out of practice, the Patriots have BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Sammy Morris, Danny Woodhead and Thomas Clayton (wearing jersey No. 41) as running backs at practice. Javarris James, who is on the practice squad, is a fifth player at the position.

In addition to Taylor, cornerback Terrence Wheatley (foot) and offensive lineman Nick Kaczur (back) also were not spotted at practice. They have yet to practice this season.