Patriots encouraged by Wes Welker's return to practice

Wes Welker stretched under the bright sun. He weaved between cones during an agility drill. He caught passes with other New England Patriots receivers. One of the few signs that Welker, the NFL's top pass catcher over the past three years, had major surgery exactly four months earlier was the brace on his left knee.

If Welker is ahead of schedule in his recovery, he's not saying. He declined to talk with reporters during New England's organized team activities Wednesday. But with the season opener still more than three months away, the sight of Welker running and cutting was encouraging to the Patriots' other dangerous pass catcher.

"It's very impressive to me," Randy Moss said. "I'm a big fan of Welker's way before he came here, back when he was in Miami. So I can't wait to have him back on the field, whenever that day comes."

Fantasy Impact: 

We are encouraged as well. Initially it looked as if Welker could miss up to half the season. Now, despite no official comment, Welker looks to be ahead of schedule. A week 1 start which seemed impossible a few months ago, now does not seem out of the realm of possibility. However, the Patriots will likely keep us guessing right up until game time as the Patriots do.

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