Knee issues continue to hinder New England Patriots running back Sony Michel.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic on Wednesday reported the reason for Michel’s absence from organized team activities and mandatory minicamp this spring: arthroscopic knee surgery.

Michel did not participate in any of the four practices (one OTA, three minicamp sessions) that were open to the media. The Patriots currently are off until they begin training camp in the final week of July, by which point Michel is expected to be healthy, per Howe’s source.

Michel dealt with multiple knee injuries during his college career at Georgia, and those problems persisted after the Patriots drafted him 32nd overall last year. He wound up missing most of training camp, the entire 2018 preseason and the regular-season opener before making his debut in Week 2, then sat out two additional games after spraining his MCL in Week 7.

Despite those setbacks, Michel enjoyed one of the most productive seasons ever by a Patriots rookie running back, rushing for 931 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season and another 336 yards and six scores in three playoff games.

With Michel sidelined this spring, 2019 third-round draft pick Damien Harris received additional reps, often aligning alongside Tom Brady during team drills. That trend could continue into the summer and fall if Michel remains limited.

Michel headlines a deep Patriots backfield that also includes James White, Rex Burkhead, Harris and Brandon Bolden, who returned to New England this offseason after one year with the Miami Dolphins.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images