Injuries are still a factor for the New England Patriots during training camp


The big news out of the Patriots training camp on Tuesday was that cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was back on the field after landing on the PUP list to start camp. Dennard had offseason shoulder surgery and will compete with second-year cornerback Logan Ryan for the starting role opposite Darrelle Revis while Brandon Browner serves his four-game suspension to start the season. Dennard gutted out the end of the 2013 season playing while injured and had a rough AFC Championship game after Aqib Talib was injured.

Veteran right guard Dan Connolly was not practicing Tuesday. The underperforming offensive lineman with the $4 million cap hit saw backup tackle Marcus Cannon slide into his position for the first time. Able to play guard and tackle, having Cannon handle the spot would be a huge upgrade for the offensive line and give quarterback Tom Brady a reliable pass blocker on the interior of the offensive line.

Speaking of the interior offensive line, rookie Bryan Stork left early with an undisclosed injury. The fourth-round draft pick was expected to push Ryan Wendell, who had a big drop-off last year at center after a surprising 2012 season. Stork walked off the field with the training staff and bears watching in the days to come as the competition at center was expected to be one of the big battles of camp.

Still on the PUP are wide receiver Aaron Dobson, first-round draft pick defensive tackle Dominique Easley, seventh-round draft pick wide receiver Jeremy Gallon, sixth-round draft pick defensive back Jemea Thomas, free agent offensive tackle Chris Martin, veteran special teams captain Matthew Slater and undrafted free agent linebacker Deontae Skinner. Dobson, Slater, and Easley are roster locks, but the rest of the young players need to get healthy in a hurry or get left behind as training camp is now a week old.

Follow Hal Bent at @halbent01

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