Rob Ninkovich, who was helped off the field by trainers after suffering a hip injury in the second quarter against Miami, seems to have avoided serious injury. Initial fears that his playoff availability could be affected have seemingly been eradicated as Ninkovich returned to practice on Thursday.
Ninkovich led the Patriots this season with eight sacks as well as five forced fumbles and four fumbles recovered. He, along with rookie Chandler Jones, have given the Patriots a pass rush that they were severely lacking last year.
The players will take off Friday through Sunday so Ninkovich will have time to continue to rest his ailing hip.
Tom Brady and Dont'a Hightower also returned Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's practice session.
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