New England Patriots

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 21, 2018: Sony Michel of the New England Patriots carries the football in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 21, 2018: Sony Michel of the New England Patriots carries the football in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Sony Michel is “on track” to return for the Patriots in Week 10 against the Titans, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The rookie running back reportedly just needs to have a “good week of practice with no setbacks” in order to play.

Michel injured his knee in Week 8 against the Bears, taking a cart to the locker room without returning to the game. But to the surprise of many, a postgame MRI revealed no structural damage to his knee, the same which had previously suffered a torn ACL in 2011 and required a minor procedure to drain fluid during the summer.

He didn’t practice the following Thursday or Friday, but returned to practice on Saturday before the Patriots played the Bills on Monday Night Football. He’s been a limited participant in practice ever since, but sat out again when the Patriots beat the Packers on Sunday night.

Michel has rushed 95 times for 422 yards (a 4.4-yard average) in six games played as a rookie. The Patriots have employed Cordarrelle Patterson, mainly a receiver and kick returner, as their primary back in Michel’s absence and he’s performed admirably.

Nov 4, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

But the likelihood is that Michel gets back to his usual workload if and when he takes the field against the Titans. He averaged about 23 touches in Weeks 4-6 before his game was cut short against the Bears.

Questions still remain on the other key offensive player injured for the Patriots, tight end Rob Gronkowski. He’s sat out two of the last three games with ankle and back injuries. With the Patriots’ bye week coming up in Week 11, it’s quite possible they sit Gronk one more game so he can get himself right for Week 12 at the Jets and beyond.

They shouldn’t need Gronkowski to beat the Titans, anyway. But for the sake of Patterson and the running game, they could use Michel back in there as soon as possible.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.