Great news, but I hope Francis is just sick or something. He’s really been coming on at the end of the season and would be useful if the Pats want to use their four defensive end pass rush package.

Defensive end Rob Ninkovich, who was last seen limping off the field at Gillette Stadium after injuring his left hip in the season finale against the Dolphins, was spotted at practice Tuesday. It was Ninkovich’s second time back on the practice field after being spotted last Thursday before the Patriots went on a three-day hiatus during the bye week. According to a tweet posted by Globe colleague Michael Whitmer (@GlobeWhitmer), who attended the media-access portion of practice at the lower fields, Ninkovich looked good and was “running and jumping during agility drills.” Rookie defensive lineman Justin Francis, who recorded a career-high three sacks vs. the Dolphins, was not spotted during the workout, conducted in sweats and shells.

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