NFL: Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton celebrates after a touchdown scored by defensive end Deatrich Wise (not seen) against the Las Vegas Raiders last month.

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore were back at practice Thursday, providing a lift to a team that has largely been sidelined the past two weeks by COVID-19.

Gilmore’s presence indicates he was activated off the team’s COVID-19 reserve list Thursday morning. Newton was activated on Wednesday. Practice-squad defensive lineman Bill Murray was also present, meaning he’s also been returned from COVID-19 reserve.

Defensive tackle Byron Cowart, defensive lineman Deatrich Wise and practice-squad tight end Paul Quessenberry were the only players absent.

Cowart remains on the team’s COVID-19 reserve list after testing positive last weekend. Wise was listed as a non-participant on Wednesday’s projected injury report for non-injury reasons.

It remains unclear why he’s been away from the field, though it’s possible he may be in isolation after being deemed a high-risk close contact of Cowart’s.

Thursday’s session was only the Patriots’ second practice in the last 13 days and first in the past five.