The Patriots must get their offensive line issues sorted out before the start of the regular season. Getting Cole Strange back would help in a big way.

The second-year guard has been sidelined since suffering a left leg injury during a July 31 training camp practice. Strange has appeared in uniform at multiple practices since — but never has returned to participation. He didn’t make the trip to Green Bay last week for joint sessions with the Packers, and didn’t practice Tuesday in New England.

Nevertheless, there are reasons for optimism. Hours after Strange suffered his injury, The Boston Globe’s Chris Price reported the issue wasn’t considered serious. And Price offered another positive update after Tuesday’s practice.

“From what I’ve been told, fairly certain Strange will be back for Week 1,” he wrote on the X platform. “That’s why I had him slotted as starting LG (in a previous post).”

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Strange’s health isn’t the only issue currently plaguing the Patriots offensive line.

Right guard Mike Onwenu hasn’t practiced all summer after undergoing offseason ankle injury. His work on the rehab/conditioning fields throughout camp potentially indicates he’s nearing a return, but he remained on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list as of Wednesday morning.

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Moreover, swing tackles Conor McDermott and Calvin Anderson both are battling injuries, with the former leaving last Thursday’s practice (undisclosed) and the latter having spent all of training camp on the non-football illness (NFI) list. Veteran Riley Reiff, who entered camp as the presumed starter at right tackle, struggled so mightily that he was moved to right guard.

Consequently, rookie Sidy Sow, primarily a guard in college, has been the first-team right tackle for roughly two weeks. The fourth-round pick has made undeniable progress, but he still has a long way to go. Exhibit A: His performance last Saturday against the Packers.

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But if Strange can return in time for Week 1, the Patriots would have at least three of their top five offensive linemen. That might be enough to get them through the early part of the season.

Featured image via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images