The New England Patriots got a big boost on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball today, when they activated star linebacker Dont'a Hightower off the PUP list and he and veteran tackle Nate Solder returned to practice. 

Hightower, who had started training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, has dealt with injuries throughout his career, but has also been a top contributor when healthy. The team seems to have planned to bring the Alabama product along slowly so a to save his body a bit.

Solder had been sidelined with an unknown injury, but returned to the field on Tuesday.

While Hightower's presence along the front seven is sure to be a huge boost for the Patriots defense, getting Solder back at his familiar left tackle spot should help to balance out the offensive line and get it clicking on all cylinders prior to the start of the regular season.