New England Patriots guard Mike Onwenu, who was placed on COVID-19 reserve list on Oct. 5, returned to practice on Thursday and could be available to play Sunday against Dallas. Steven Senne/Associated Press

Another day, another piece of good news for the Patriots offensive line.

Starting left guard Mike Onwenu returned to practice Thursday, indicating he’s been activated off COVID-19 reserve. Ownenu was placed on COVID-19 reserve 10 days ago with left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who remains out. His return followed the reappearance of right guard Shaq Mason on Wednesday, after Mason had been out all last week with an abdomen injury.

Mason increased his participation at the start of practice, drilling with rookie quarterback Mac Jones and running back Damien Harris, who’s dealing with an injury to his ribs. The Patriots upgraded Harris and Mason to limited participation during Thursday’s practice.

While Onwenu returned, the Pats were down backup offensive tackle Justin Herron on Thursday. Herron replaced Wynn at left tackle during last week’s win at Houston. Rookie corner Shaun Wade was the only other player missing. Wade is recovering from a concussion he suffered last week.

It’s unknown whether Onwenu or Mason will play Sunday against the Cowboys. Last weekend, the Pats used interior backup Ted Karras and practice-squad veteran James Ferentz to replace them. Mason was listed as non-participant on Wednesday’s practice report.

COWBOYS: Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs (ankle) missed his second straight practice in Dallas ahead of Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

Diggs leads the NFL with six interceptions this season.

PANTHERS: Running back Christian McCaffrey did not practice Thursday, a sign that he could miss his third straight game while trying to rehab from a hamstring injury. The 2019 All-Pro running back had participated in four straight practices for the Panthers on a limited basis.

Coach Matt Rhule told reporters on Wednesday that McCaffrey was “50-50” for the game and that his playing status would likely come down to a game-time decision. Rhule does not address reporters on Thursday of a normal game week. The Panthers (3-2) host the Minnesota Vikings (2-3) on Sunday.

The Panthers’ 2017 first-round draft pick was injured in a Week 3 win against the Houston Texans. He hasn’t played since and the Panthers are 0-2 without him in the starting lineup after starting the season 3-0.

Chuba Hubbard would start if McCaffrey can’t play. Hubbard ran for 101 yards on 24 carries in Carolina’s 21-18 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday.

WASHINGTON: The Washington Football Team announced Thursday it is retiring late safety Sean Taylor’s number this weekend, last-minute timing that sparked criticism while the organization is dealing with multiple off-field scandals.

Washington has previously promoted jersey retirement ceremonies months in advance, most recently in June for Bobby Mitchell’s night in September. The announcement of Taylor’s No. 21 being retired came three days before Washington hosted Kansas City on what the team calls homecoming weekend.

The team said in a statement this has been in the works since before the season and apologized to fans for the lack of notice. President Jason Wright also took to Twitter to apologize.

“We wanted to do something long overdue by retiring players’ numbers,” Wright tweeted. “Months ago we planned for Bobby Mitchell and Sean Taylor to be the first two. Seeing the reaction, I’m very sorry that the short notice does not properly reflect the impact Sean had.”

Taylor was murdered at his home during a botched robbery attempt in 2007, midway through his fourth NFL season. His hard-hitting style, including decking a punter in the Pro Bowl, made him a fan favorite.

“He made you want to play for Washington, for sure,” said reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young, who grew up rooting for the team. “I wish he was still here.”

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