The New England Patriots are in no rush to get second year defensive tackle Dominique Easley removed from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. The 2014 1st round pick finished last season on the injured reserve to prevent extraneous wear to his knees during his first year back in football.
The 6'2, 285 lbs Easley, who switched his jersey number from 74 to 99 this offseason, tore his ACL in 2011 and again in 2013. He is almost two years removed from his second injury. While he didn't reinjure it last season, the Patriots acted cautiously with their first round pick and sent him to the injured reserve so he could continue to strengthen his knee. The Patriots didn't use the same caution with 2013 second round pick Aaron Dobson, which led to a long term injury to the receiver's foot. They are hoping to avoid any catastrophic setbacks with Easley.
According to the Herald's Jeff Howe, there hasn't been a setback with Easley, but the Patriots are just being careful.
Fact is, the Patriots sat down Easley this week to let him know they'll continue to be cautious with him as they build toward the regular season, according to a source. There is no known setback with either of Easley's surgically repaired knees.
Easley told the Herald in June he wasn't 100 percent, but that was more from a football sense than a medical perspective. While his knees feel good, he has recognized it takes time for the body to catch up to his standards on the field. Easley noticed through film review that his explosion wasn't at his peak level.
Easley was coming on right before he was placed on the injured reserve, and was an absolute terror against the Colts. Player safety should be the top priority at this point in the season (and at every point of the season, let's be serious), so hopefully Easley will feel 100% when he finally gets back on the field.