New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave a rare injury update during a conference call with the media Tuesday.
Belichick was asked if running back Dion Lewis and guard Tre’ Jackson, both of whom began the season on the physically unable to perform list, would begin practicing Wednesday, the first day in which they’re eligible. Belichick said “probably not this week.”
Lewis, who tore his ACL last November, had a clean-up surgery on his knee this summer. The 26-year-old practiced once for the Patriots during organized team activities but didn’t take the field at all during training camp. He’s been recently spotted in the Patriots’ locker room.
Jackson also had offseason knee surgery. He has participated in conditioning drills away from the rest of his teammates since this summer.
The Patriots have plenty of depth at running back without Lewis, with LeGarrette Blount, James White, D.J. Foster and Brandon Bolden on their 53-man roster in addition to Bishop Sankey and Tyler Gaffney on their practice squad. When Lewis returns, he could dig into the snaps of both Blount and White.
The Patriots are slightly more shallow on their interior offensive line, where they have guards Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason and Ted Karras and center David Andrews on their 53-man roster and guards Chase Farris, Ian Silberman and Chris Barker on their practice squad.
Lewis and Jackson have five weeks to begin practicing. Once they begin practicing, there’s a 21-day window in which to activate them from the PUP list. If they don’t begin practicing within five weeks or if they’re not activated within 21 days after taking the field, they would be placed on PUP/reserve, ending their season.
The earliest Lewis or Jackson could begin playing is Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the latest they could be activated is Week 14.
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