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Patriots starting right guard Ryan Wendell preparing for game action

Lineman Ryan Wendell, left, who had offseason shoulder surgery, returned to practice Tuesday. Rich Gabrielson/Icon SMI

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A day after being removed from the physically unable to perform list, New England Patriots starting right guard Ryan Wendell is thrilled to be back on the field.

The seven-year veteran had offseason shoulder surgery and returned to practice Tuesday. He spoke prior to Wednesday’s practice and said he didn’t know if he would play in the team’s upcoming preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on Friday in Carolina.

"Every player wants to be on the field every snap. I’ve been trying to let Bill get me on defense and special teams," Wendell said with a smile. "Every player wants to be out there all the time."

Though he was on the PUP list, Wendell made sure to get as much work in as he could so he would be prepared once he was given medical clearance.

"You can’t spend any time worrying about things you can’t control, and the only thing I can control is doing the work I have each day," he said. "Believe me I’ve had plenty of work to do each day."

Since this was the first time Wendell has been allowed to speak with the media, the veteran was asked his thoughts about the offseason retirement of close friend and teammate Dan Connolly.

"I can’t say enough good things about Dan," Wendell said. "He’s an awesome guy, an awesome teammate, one of my best friends and it was an honor and a privilege to play behind him, next to him, any where around him for the past seven years. I wish we could play together longer, but he’s got time with his family now and he’s enjoying it.

"Any time I get a chance I go over there and get a free home-cooked meal. He’s having a great time. He’s still plugged in. He still knows what’s going on every day and he’s watching all the games and he’s going to be our biggest fan this year."