Pats' Jerod Mayo at practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo returned to practice on Friday, less than two weeks after suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee Oct. 2 in a game in Oakland. Initial reports suggested Mayo would miss four to six weeks.

Mayo's unexpected presence at practice is a positive note, but his status for Sunday's game against the Cowboys remains highly in doubt after having missed two practices this week. In all likelihood, the team will hold him out of action Sunday, leading to a probable return following the Patriots' bye week. Mayo was officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game on the team's Friday practice report.

In addition to Mayo returning, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe), who missed Thursday's practice, returned to the practice fields for Friday's session, which was held with players in light shoulder pads and in drizzly conditions.

Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who dealt with a personal matter Thursday, returned to practice, and said earlier Friday that he is "ready to play" Sunday.

The players absent from Friday's practice were safety Josh Barrett (hamstring) and cornerback Phillip Adams, who was not listed on Thursday's injury report. Barrett was listed on the team's Friday injury report as out for Sunday's game.

The team announced that Adams was released because the Patriots signed former Bears defensive tackle Marcus Harrison. He had 55 tackles and three sacks in three seasons with Chicago.

Mike Rodak is a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com.