Running back Dion Lewis and guard Tre’ Jackson were eligible to return to New England Patriots practice last week, but neither did.
Will we see either back on the practice field this week? Patriots coach Bill Belichick addressed that question Tuesday morning in a conference call with reporters.
“We’ll have to talk with our medical and conditioning staff and kind of get a sense of where everybody is and then figure that out from when practice starts on Wednesday,” Belichick said. “So we’ll take a look at that information and see where we are and then make a decision on it prior to Wednesday’s practice.”
That response differed from the one Belichick offered last Tuesday, when he said neither player was expected to practice ahead of Sunday’s Week 7 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Lewis and Jackson both remain on the physically unable to perform list. Once they begin practicing, the Patriots have 21 days to add them to the active roster. If they do not, they will revert to injured reserve.
Lewis was one of the Patriots’ most dynamic offensive players last season before tearing his ACL, and his return immediately would lessen the workload that’s been placed on LeGarrette Blount’s shoulders this season. Blount has carried the ball 143 times through seven games and is on pace to shatter his career high of 201 rushing attempts, which he set as a rookie in 2010.
Jackson, meanwhile, could challenge right guard Shaq Mason for playing time once he returns to the fray. Mason has been arguably the Patriots’ weakest starting offensive lineman this season.
Tackle Sebastian Vollmer also remains on PUP, but he is not expected to return this season.
The Patriots visit the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in the final game before their bye week.
Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis tries to elude Carolina Panthers cornerback Melvin White during the second half at Bank of America Stadium.