Patriots WR Wes Welker's lingering ankle injury caused him to miss Wednesday's practice. (AP Images)

It may= be time to start taking Wes Welker’s injury situation seriously.

The New England Patriots’ wide receiver has been nursing a left ankle injury since early October, although it hasn’t been much more than a blip on the daily practice report because Welker has continued to perform and ranks third in the NFL with 66 catches.

But the injury is real. Welker was hurt Oct. 10 against the Broncos, then appeared to aggravate it Week 8 against the Rams when he rolled his ankle. He was limping after a 23-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the Bills. The latest instance appeared to be minor when Welker returned to the field the next play after a quick look form the medical staff, but he was held out of practice Wednesday, his first absence since Aug. 23.

Reports have emerged that the slot receiver had X-rays after the game, the results of which have not been released.

Welker was in the locker room Wednesday evening and spoke with Buffalo media on a conference call, which could be a possible sign that the injury is not considered significant. So it may not be time to panic, but it’s a situation that should be monitored heading into Sunday’s game against the Colts.

Practice report: Gs Logan Mankins (ankle/calf) and Dan Connolly (back) did not practice after suffering injuries against the Bills on Sunday. CB Aqib Talib and G Mitch Petrus, signed Tuesday night, were on the field for the first time.

Petrus joked that he has to hide the Super Bowl ring that he won with the Giants last year, but was quick to note that there are many similarities between how the teams operate.

“It pretty much [feels the same],” Petrus said. “Everybody is really focused on what they’re doing and the task at hand. I think it’s similar.”

Talib declined interview requests, stating that he was instructed not to speak to the media until Thursday.

Injury rundown: DT Ron Brace (eblow), S Patrick Chung (shoulder/hamstring), S Steve Gregory (hip), TE Rob Gronkowski (hip), TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle), LB Dont'a Hightower (hamstring), WR Brandon Lloyd (knee), OL Nick McDonald (shoulder), DE Trevor Scott (hamstring), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), OT Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee), LB Tracy White (foot) and CB Malcolm Williams (thigh) were limited. 

WR Julian Edelman (hand), DT Kyle Love (knee) and LB Jerod Mayo (elbow) participated fully. 

Nick Underhill covers the Patriots for Follow him on Twitter @CBSPats or @Nick_Underhill.