The New England Patriots offense scored 31 points against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, and it did so despite missing three of its core players: running back Sony Michel missed the contest because of a knee injury, tight end Rob Gronkowski was out with ankle and back issues, and right guard Shaq Mason was deactivated after hurting his calf last week.
While it remains to be seen how quickly Gronkowski and Mason will return from their respective injuries — with the Patriots’ bye week coming up it would not be a surprise if they were held out until week 11 —, Michel appears to be right on track to play against the Tennessee Titans: according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the first-round draft pick is “likely to return” to the game-day roster on Sunday.
Schefter notes that all Michel needs is “a good week of practice with no setbacks.” The rookie, who leads the team with 422 rushing yards and four scores, has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury during week seven’s game against the Chicago Bears. Since then, the Patriots used wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and receiving back James White as their primary options in the ground game.
While it would not be a surprise if New England limited Michel’s snap count in case he indeed returns this week, seeing him close to a return is certainly good news for the Patriots. The 23-year old, after all, has become a big part of the Patriots’ offensive attack as the team’s early down back before hurting his knee.
[UPDATE 11/11] According to Schefter, Michel is indeed “likely to play” versus the Titans today.