FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It looks like the Patriots could get some offensive help in the coming weeks.

On Thursday, Rex Burkhead was at Patriots practice, which means the clock is ticking for the running back’s return. The Pats now have 21 days to activate the running back or place him back on the injured reserve.

Burkhead was placed on the injured reserve list in Week 4 with a neck injury. By practicing Thursday, he is now the second and final player to return off injured reserve. Cornerback Duke Dawson has been practicing for the last two weeks.

With rookie Sony Michel close to return this week, the Patriots’ offense and their running back position looks like it will be bolstered over the final stretch of the regular season. Burkhead began the season as the Patriots’ starting running back.

He rushed for 64 yards in Week 1, 22 yards in Week 2 and in Week 3, received two passes before incurring the injury.

Last year the Patriots brought Malcolm Mitchell back to practice after he too was placed on the injured reserve, but subsequently returned to the IR.

With Burkhead and Dawson eligible to return off the IR, that ends the chances of seeing Ja’Whaun Bentley, Eric Rowe and Jeremy Hill this year.

PRACTICE REPORT: Trent Brown was the only absence on Thursday at practice. The starting left tackle has missed the last two sessions due to an illness.

The Patriots have also brought Cole Croston back. It appears that the offensive lineman, who was released from the 53-man roster this week, is on the practice squad. He replaced safety David Jones.