FOXBORO -- Dont'a Hightower was not spotted at the start of Thursday's practice behind Gillette Stadium. The Pro Bowl linebacker was on Wednesday's injury report with a knee issue and was listed as a limited participant.
Hightower was chop-blocked by Rams running back Todd Gurley in Week 13 and spent time with trainers immediately thereafter. He returned to that game and then played all 70 defensive snaps the following week against the Ravens. When the Patriots traveled to Denver last weekend, Hightower saw 42 of a possible 62 defensive snaps. Kyle Van Noy saw the most snaps of any Patriots linebacker against the Broncos with 51.
The only other player missing from Patriots practice on Thursday was receiver Danny Amendola who has not practiced or played since suffering an ankle injury against the Rams.
Tom Brady was present for practice and appeared to be moving normally. He showed up on Wednesday's injury report with a thigh issue that limited him in practice, but he's expected to be fine for Saturday's matchup with the Jets.
The Patriots did not have any new players on the field for the workout, meaning they still have just nine players on their practice squad. Should defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton clear waivers Thursday, he could take that open spot. Hamilton was released on Wednesday to make room for the activation of rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett.