Shane Vereen had a stellar showing in the Patriots’ regular-season opener. Then, he went on short-term injured reserve. Nine weeks later, he’s finally ready to get back on the field.
Vereen, 24, has been practicing with his Patriots teammates for a few weeks, but he’s only now eligible to be activated from injured reserve. The versatile running back suffered a fractured wrist in the Patriots’ 23-21 Week 1 win against the Buffalo Bills. He has missed the Patriots past eight games with the injury, but he is finally able to return to the team for their Monday night game against Carolina.
The Patriots struggled to replace Vereen’s role in the offense over the first few weeks, trying to use a mix of Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden and even LeGarrette Blount in that third-down back set. Bolden had the most success, rushing for 258 yards and two scores while catching 17 passes — the most among Patriots running backs — over the seven games this season. However, a foot injury has hobbled Bolden in recent weeks, and Vereen’s return should give him the time necessary to heal up.
Vereen was arguably the Patriots’ most productive offensive player in Week 1, carrying the ball 14 times for 101 yards and catching seven passes for 58 yards in the win. It may take a few weeks for Vereen to get fully back up to speed but similar production will likely be expected from the three-year veteran.