Patriots Rumors: James White Not Yet Cleared In Return From Hip Surgery

While is unlikely to take part in offseason workouts

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James White remains on the mend as he works his way back from season-ending hip surgery.

The New England Patriots running back has yet to be medically cleared and is unlikely to participate in the team’s offseason workouts, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Sunday.

“When the Patriots take the field for voluntary offseason workouts this month, veteran running back James White (hip) likely won’t be participating,” Reiss wrote in his Sunday notes column. “White said at the (Patriots’) draft party: ‘I still have a little while to go (after) a pretty rough injury.’ “

White suffered his injury during a Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints last September, cutting short what had been a resurgent start to the season for the 30-year-old. He missed the rest of the year and was unable to walk without assistance for several months.

Discussing his rehab after the Patriots re-signed him to a two-year, $5 million contract, White admitted he initially feared his career was over.

“Being kind of confined to bed for the first few months and not being able to really move around and do things for myself, you think to yourself, ‘How could I ever run and move and all that stuff ever again?’ ” he said in March. “But obviously as the months go on, things start to loosen up. You start kind of moving around, doing some of the normal things you used to do and just build that confidence back up again.”

With White’s post-surgery effectiveness a question mark and lead back Damien Harris entering the final year of his rookie contract, the Patriots selected two running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft, taking South Dakota State’s Pierre Strong in Round 4 and South Carolina’s Kevin Harris in Round 6. They also have 2021 fourth-round Rhamondre Stevenson, who formed a formidable 1-2 punch with Damien Harris as a rookie, and returning third-year pro J.J. Taylor.

Taylor has just 47 career touches across 11 NFL appearances, but with Brandon Bolden now in Las Vegas, he could take on an expanded role as White’s third-down understudy if he can lock down a roster spot. Taylor has worked on his pass-catching this offseason, attending throwing sessions with quarterback Mac Jones and Patriots wideouts.

Pre-draft scouting reports also praised Strong’s receiving prowess. He’s a well-rounded back who posted gaudy numbers in the FCS and ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.37 seconds) of any player at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Patriots reportedly cut reserve running back Devine Ozigbo on Monday.

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