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Patriots practice Thursday: Steve Gregory only absentee, Shane Vereen ‘gradually’ increases workload

11.14.13 at 12:22 pm ET

FOXBORO — The Patriots returned to the practice field in full pads on a chilly Thursday morning outside Gillette Stadium as they continue preparations for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers Monday night in Charlotte.

The only player not spotted on the lower grass field was safety Steve Gregory, who injured his thumb against the Steelers on Nov. 3.

Should he miss Monday’s game, Gregory won’t be replaced by Ed Reed, who was signed by the Jets on Thursday and reported to their practice facility.

Running back Shane Vereen was again on the field Thursday as the Patriots test his readiness to return from a broken wrist suffered in the season opener against the Bills on Sept. 8.

“It’€™s good to have him back on the field,” coach Bill Belichick said Thursday before practice. “This will really be an opportunity for us to evaluate this week kind of where he is, give him some harder assignments and see how he’€™s doing. He’€™s been able to be active and participate but I’€™d say it will be a higher level competition for him this week on the practice field. As it should be, gradually escalate the intensity of it and see how it goes.”

The Patriots will practice again on Friday and Saturday before leaving Sunday for Charlotte and Monday’s game against the Panthers.

Read More: Carolina Panthers, Ed Reed, New England Patriots, nfl
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