New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib said Thursday he is close to returning, perhaps as soon as Monday night against the Carolina Panthers.
Talib, who suffered a hip injury in Week 6, officially deemed himself "day to day" and again was on the practice field for the team's full-pads workout.
The Patriots also could get back another key player, running back Shane Vereen (wrist), who is eligible to be activated to the 53-man roster off the injured reserve.
Vereen has been out since he was injured in Week 1.
"It's good to have him back on the field," coach Bill Belichick said. "This will really be an opportunity for us to evaluate this week kind of where he is, give him some harder assignments and see how he's doing. He's been able to be active and participate, but I'd say it will be a higher level of competition for him this week on the practice field, as it should be, gradually escalate the intensity of it and see how it goes."
Belichick gave a similar response in regard to Talib's progress.
"He's continued to progress and we'll keep doing, as they can tolerate it, do more, and evaluate how they do at a little bit higher level, and if that goes well ramp it up, and see where we are as we go through the week," Belichick said.
Talib said being away from game action has been difficult.
"Definitely, man, anytime you have to watch the guys go to war without you, man, that's the worst thing in the world," he said.
The Patriots are coming off their bye week, which Talib noted arrived "at the perfect time."