Wilfork not present at practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who left the New England Patriots' win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday with a left ankle injury, did not practice Wednesday. Wilfork is a key cog in the Patriots' defense, as he anchors their run defense.

Rookie Myron Pryor saw his playing time spike Sunday in Wilfork's absence. Veteran free-agent signee Terdell Sands, who practiced with the Patriots for the first time Wednesday, would be another candidate to step in for Wilfork. Rookie Ron Brace is also in the mix.

Linebacker Jerod Mayo (right MCL) and offensive tackle Nick Kaczur, who wore a sleeve around his lower left leg earlier in the day, were the other players not present for the start of practice.

Receiver Wes Welker, who has missed the past two games with a knee injury, was back on the field. So, too, was cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, who was a late scratch Sunday after injuring his groin in an off-field incident.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.