Pats look to get healthier as they host Texans

New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) is tackled after catching a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. Amendola left the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots appear to be getting healthier as they head toward Sunday’s home game against the Houston Texans.

Dont’a Hightower (knee) and Danny Amendola (concussion, knee), who both missed Sunday’s win at New Orleans, and Philip Dorsett (knee), Chris Hogan (knee) and Eric Rowe (groin) — injured against the Saints — were all back at practice Wednesday.

Rob Gronkowski, who had a groin injury Sunday, was spotted at practice but listed as not participating. On Monday, he said he was “day to day” and that he didn’t think his injury was serious.

Rex Burkhead (ribs) and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle/concussion) were also out. But Amendola, Dorsett and Hogan were all among the nine players who had “limited participation,” a positive sign for a wide receiver group that lost Julian Edelman for the season and Malcolm Mitchell for several weeks.

“It was awesome,” Brandin Cooks said when asked about seeing his fellow receivers on the practice field.

Cooks, Dorsett and Hogan were the only three wide receivers dressed in Sunday’s win. Cooks and Dorsett were playing just their second game with the Patriots.

“Injuries really challenge every football team at some point in the year,” Tom Brady said. “Your depth is really challenged — offensively, defensively, special teams — at some point a lot of guys are called into action, whether it’s guys from the practice squad, or guys you bring off the street or during a game or over the course of time.

“We’ve been challenged early and hopefully we can use it as a positive in some ways, that other guys may get a lot of reps early in the year and then when guys can get back we can have more depth — I think that’s the only positive way to look at those things.

“You just have to do the best you can do, every team deals with it — they’re dealing with some injuries as well … We are, it’s just part of this long football season … It’s a marathon of a season and you’re going to have the ups and downs of guys being in, being out. You always love to be as healthy as possible, but that’s probably not the reality of most teams.”

Brady was just 16 of 36 with no touchdowns in the opening loss to Kansas City. He then threw three touchdowns in the first quarter for the first time in his career in the win at New Orleans.

Dorsett, acquired from Indianapolis for Jacoby Brissett, was asked on Monday if he thinks Brady already has trust in him.

“I think he trusts me,” he said. “We work a lot during practice and after practice. I think he trusts me. Hopefully, we can continue to gain more trust as the season goes on, but it’s only the second game so I think we’ve got a long way to go.”

Dorsett had three catches for 68 yards at New Orleans after not catching a pass in the opener.

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