Bye week practice report: Brady back at practice

FOXBOROUGH — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returned to practice Thursday and was joined by defensive end Rob Ninkovich, who injured his left hip in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins, according to Globe colleague Michael Whitmer.

Rookie linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who has been battling hamstring and shoulder injuries, also returned.

Despite frigid conditions, the Patriots conducted their final practice of their bye week outdoors on the lower grass field behind Gillette Stadium in sweats and shells. The team, which had perfect attendance for practice, will take the next three days off.

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