The New England Patriots could have Hunter Henry back by the start of the regular season.
The high-priced tight end is expected to miss “a couple of weeks” after suffering a shoulder injury in Sunday’s training camp practice, according to a report Tuesday from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The injury is “not serious,” per Schefter’s report.
The Patriots are more than a month away from their Sept. 12 season opener against the Miami Dolphins, giving Henry ample time to recover. New England opens its three-game preseason schedule Thursday night against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium.
In his Tuesday morning video conference, Patriots coach Bill Belichick called Henry “day to day” and did not sound overly concerned about the injury.
“Hunter has participated in everything that he’s been able to do since he’s been here, so he’s gained a lot of experience in the time that he’s been here,” Belichick said. “I would say he’s day to day. And I would say as players improve … then we can gradually work them into things. …
“He’ll come back as he can come back. We have many other players in that category. But Hunter’s a smart guy. He has a lot of experience. He’s been here and done everything that we’ve done as a team, so when we get him back, we’ll get him back, we’ll get him back there in the pace and the schedule that fits his physical situation. But he’ll continue to make progress. There’s still a lot of things that he can do.”
New England signed big-ticket free agents Henry and Jonnu Smith this offseason to revive what’s been the NFL’s weakest tight end group. Henry’s injury will create additional first-team opportunities for 2020 third-round draft pick Devin Asiasi and veteran Matt LaCosse.
Asiasi is working his way back to full speed after spending the first nine days of training camp on the reserve/COVID-19 list. LaCosse is looking to keep his roster spot as he returns from his COVID opt-out.
Troy Fumagalli, David Wells and fullback Jakob Johnson round out the Patriots’ tight end room. Dalton Keene was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Saturday.