They stepped onto the practice field outside Gillette Stadium for only the second time in 13 days on Thursday.

The Patriots have gone through a rough October, playing only one game so far, because three starters tested positive for COVID-19.

So there was a sense of a bit of normalcy when the Patriots were finally able to practice again on Thursday, their first workout together since last Saturday when they had practiced for the first time since Oct. 2.

And quarterback Cam Newton, who tested positive the first weekend of the month, was back with the team as it prepared for Sunday afternoon's game against the Denver Broncos.

"We'll have to see how it goes,'' said coach Bill Belichick when asked about Newton's status during a morning video conference. "We haven't had an opportunity to do much here in the last 10 days or so, been on the field really one time."

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who tested positive the day after the Patriots lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, was still awaiting medical clearance but he could be back for the Broncos' game. Defensive lineman Byron Cowart will probably miss this weekend's game after testing positive last Saturday night.

The Patriots had to shift the Chiefs' game from a Sunday afternoon to Monday night because of Newton's test result. The game with the Broncos was changed from last Sunday to Monday night when Gilmore was positive, and then it was moved from last Monday night to this Sunday afternoon because of Cowart's test.

The Patriots will have two full days of practice and a walk-through on Saturday to get ready for the Broncos after spending a lot of time watching film and in video conference meetings.

The Patriots haven't had a positive test since Cowart on the weekend, allowing them to get back to practice Thursday.

"As we're moving further and further away from that, we're continuing to get negative tests there's definitely for all the guys a good feeling to get back in there and start,'' said safety Devin McCourty. "Each day you're just waiting to see and hoping. It's like Christmas. You're just hoping for all negative so you can move forward and continue to build. But it's not in our control.''

The Patriots and all other teams in the NFL are being tested every day, and there is always some worry whenever a teammate has already been found to be positive.

"Any time you do any of this, obviously there's a virus going around,'' said McCourty of the test. "It's prevalent everywhere, so whenever you get tested, especially once someone else tests positive, there's always like anxious nervousness."