Patriots Quarterback Mac Jones Returns to Practice

In a shocking turn of events, New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones returned to practice Friday despite suffering a severe high-ankle sprain this past Sunday. Jones had previously been expected to miss multiple games. Now, it seems at least possible he could be available for Week 4.
Jones went down on the final offensive play of the Patriots' 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The quarterback appeared in severe pain as he hopped off the field, unable to put any weight on his injured foot. He was helped to the back by medical staff and was quickly diagnosed with a significant high-ankle sprain. Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer had been pegged to replace him in the coming weeks.

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That was of course until reports emerged earlier this week that Jones was pushing to play in Week 4. The quarterback's quick recovery is startling following the apparent severity of the injury, but not totally unprecedented. Patrick Mahomes avoided missing any time due to the injury in 2019. Ditto Tom Brady in 2016

However, availability is only half the battle. The Patriots will need Jones to play well if they're going to be competitive in Week 4 and beyond, and the quarterback has struggled this year even when healthy. With a league-high five interceptions for the league's 25th-ranked scoring offense, Jones seems to have regressed following a rookie season that saw him lead the Patriots to 10 wins and the sixth-most points in the league in 2021. If Jones has to fight just to make the field, the Patriots may be better off sitting him until he can play his best.

Photo Credit: © Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports