CB Dowling dodges serious injury

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling, who left Sunday's win against the Chargers in the second quarter with a leg injury and didn't return, was back on the practice field Wednesday. Also, left-footed punter Zoltan Mesko (left knee) was present, although he didn't run with teammates during the start of drills and instead rode the exercise bike.

That was some of the encouraging news on the injury front for the Patriots, although it wasn't all good news.

Starting safety Patrick Chung, who injured his right hand Sunday, was one of five players not present for the start of Wednesday's practice. Starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who returned Sunday after missing the season opener with a back injury, also wasn't present.

The other three players not at practice were cornerback Kyle Arrington, tight end Aaron Hernandez and defensive lineman Mike Wright.

Players wore shorts and light shoulder pads for the practice, which was the first for defensive lineman Landon Cohen (No. 98) and defensive back Phillip Adams (No. 26).