It appears that Mac Jones is nearing a return. According to a report by Mike Reiss of ESPN, the New England Patriots starting quarterback “expects to be available” for the upcoming game against the Chicago Bears.
Jones, 24, has missed the last three games after suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens. The issue was expected to be a multi-week affair, but the Patriots opted against placing him on injured reserve — a move that would have sidelined the sophomore QB for at least four contests.
Jones returning to practice just five days after the injury seemingly justified that decision, even though he served more as a bystander than participant. His workload has increased over the following two weeks, however, and he has reportedly told teammates that his recovery from a high ankle sprain has “progressed”.
Of course, his participation in practice this week will decide his outlook for the upcoming game against the Bears. The Patriots, who will host Chicago on Monday Night Football, will hold their first session of the week on Thursday; the first injury report will be released later that same day.
Head coach Bill Belichick has only shared limited information about the former first-round draft pick, and the team’s quarterback situation in general.
“We’ll see how that process is,” Belichick told reporters on Monday, a day after New England’s victory over the Cleveland Browns. “Mac still wasn’t able to play [Sunday]. We’ll continue to evaluate him and see how he’s doing physically.”
With Jones out, the Patriots initially turned to veteran backup Brian Hoyer. When Hoyer suffered a concussion in the first quarter of his starting debut, the team then turned to fourth-round draft pick Bailey Zappe.
Zappe has since started two games, leading New England to a 2-0 record. In 11 quarters plus one overtime period, the rookie has completed 51 of 70 pass attempts for 596 yards as well as four touchdowns and an interception.
For comparison, Jones went 64-for-97 for 786 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. New England went 1-2 in his three games.