DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins face a near must-win situation against the New England Patriots on Sunday and the team got a big piece of the offensive line back Friday.

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey returned to practice Friday after missing team activities Wednesday to fly to Boston. Officially, the Fins said the absence was “non-injury” related.

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However, it’s believed Pouncey may have been in Boston to fulfill a grand jury subpoena in the Aaron Hernandez murder case.

Pouncey was served with a subpoena after Miami’s loss to New England in Massachusetts earlier this year. Pouncey is a friend of Hernandez dating back to their time together at the University of Florida.

Pouncey and his brother Maurkice went so far as to wear hats earlier this year that said “Free Hernandez.” Maurkice and his team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, apologized for the incident. Mike and the Dolphins have not addressed the controversy over the hat.

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Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Odin Lloyd, 27. Lloyd was a semi-professional football player shot to death earlier this year. Hernandez is also being investigated for a separate shooting in Boston.

Mike said missing practice for one day won’t impact his performance against the Patriots Sunday.

“It’s something I had to go handle. I’m here with my football team, so I’m happy,” Pouncey said. “It would be just like if I was injured (Wednesday) and I didn’t practice. I’m a veteran on this team now and we’ve played this defense before. We’ll be all right.”

Pouncey hadn’t previously missed any practice time because of the subpoena, but he sat out two games in November with a gall bladder illness.

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