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Patriots special teams ace Nate Ebner has right arm in a cast

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner, whose primary contributions come on special teams, had his right arm in a bulky, hard cast as he arrived for Thursday's walkthrough practice.

The Patriots aren't required to submit an injury report during their playoff bye week. Should it come to the point that the team is without Ebner, it would require some significant shuffling on special teams.

Ebner's 11 special teams tackles rank third on the team behind Matthew Slater (17) and Brandon King (12), as he is the personal protector on the punt team, while also playing on kickoff coverage, the punt return unit and the kickoff return unit.

Ebner's presence with a cast was the most notable observation from Thursday's walkthrough, as coach Bill Belichick opted to scale things back on the team for the second day in a row from a physical perspective. It's more mental work for the Patriots at this point, with one more practice scheduled for Friday.

Tom Brady, as expected, was present for the walkthrough.