Devin McCourty (concussion) practices with Patriots on Wednesday

Devin McCourty reacts after making a tackle against the Miami Dolphins in the first half at Gillette Stadium. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Devin McCourty practiced with the Patriots during the media availability portion on Wednesday at the grass field outside Gillette Stadium. It's an indication that he's passed nearly every step toward full clearance from the NFL's concussion protocol.

McCourty exited the Patriots' 38-3 win over the Jets on Dec. 30 with the head injury. His presence during media availability at practice, which included stretching only, is a sure sign that he's on track to be fully recovered and ready to play on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC Divisional Playoff.

However, McCourty may have still been a limited participant in practice on Wednesday. He will almost certainly appear on the Patriots' injury report, which will shed more light on his status ahead of the game against the Chargers. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) also appeared at practice after missing the game against the Jets.

Week 17 against the Jets was the first time in the 2018 season that McCourty played less than 95 percent of the Patriots' defensive snaps. Only Stephon Gilmore (1,014 snaps) played more defensive snaps in the regular season than McCourty, who played 1,004 snaps (96.3 percent).

Needless to say, McCourty is as important as any player on the Patriots defense, if only for the sake of consistency. His status for Sunday is worth monitoring all week.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].