FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots got some help back Wednesday but the injury list keeps growing.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore returned to practice after missing two games with a concussion, but Danny Amendola was a surprise addition. He didn’t practice Wednesday with a knee injury. Also missing from practice: Dont’a Hightower, Malcom Brown, Eric Rowe and Harvey Langi.

Amendola finished Sunday’s game and hasn’t been listed on the injury report. Rowe (groin) and Langi (back) aren’t expected to be back any time soon.

The return of Gilmore is a boost for the defense. Both Hightower and Brown left Sunday’s game with injuries. Hightower suffered a shoulder injury against Atlanta and Brown left the game after suffering an injury to his ankle.

Coach Bill Belichick loves talking about the best football players of his era. He could go on for several minutes about players like Lawrence Taylor, Ed Reed and Peyton Manning, explaining what made them great and how they played the game.

Ahead of the Patriots’ matchup with the Chargers, Belichick was sure to give similar treatment to quarterback Philip Rivers. Belichick coached Rivers at the 2007 and 2011 Pro Bowls, and learned plenty about him then.

“Phil’s a tremendous player,” Belichick said. “Great competitor. Really smart player. Met him at the Pro Bowl. Got to know him a little bit out there. He’s got a real thirst for knowledge, not there’s a lot of scheme at the Pro Bowl.

“I’m not saying that. The conversations beyond that was on how to attack different schemes and so forth. He’s a real football guy like Tom (Brady), like Peyton (Manning). Guys like that. He’s into it.”

Rivers is a 10th all-time with 47,649 passing yards. His ability to read defenses and break them down is something the Patriots will be particularly wary of Sunday.

“(Rivers) has a ton of experience,” Belichick said. “He does a great job of making adjustments on the line of scrimmage whether it’s changing protections or he sees a certain coverage, he can get into a play that will attack that coverage.

“Being able to disguise our coverage and not really tell him what we’re in, that’s really suicide because he’ll just chew it up. We’re going to have to do a good job of not declaring what exactly we’re in so he doesn’t get to the perfect play every time. I have a lot of respect for him.”

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