After a bad loss that saw the team lose multiple starters to injury, the New England Patriots look like they could use some help. The good news is, there could be some on the way this week.
The Patriots began the year with multiple projected starters or other contributors on either Injured Reserve (IR) or the Physically Unable To Perform (PUP) list. Players beginning the season those lists must miss at least four games, with Week 5 being the soonest they can be activated.
Well, it’s now Week 5. The Patriots have five players that could return to practice as soon as Wednesday.
In order for players to rejoin the active roster, first they are ‘designated to return.’ That means fully taking part in practice. Once players enter this window, the team has 21 days to officially add them to the active roster (and has to open up a roster spot to do so). Players in the ‘designated to return’ stage don’t take up an active roster spot, but also aren’t eligible to play in games until added to the active roster.
The process for players to return from IR or PUP is the same for both lists. However, for players on PUP the build-up can be a little more involved, given they didn’t participate in any part of training camp and may be further from ‘football shape.’
“We’ll see how that goes. That’s a possibility,” Bill Belichick said when asked if the Patriots could have any players return this week. “As players come into that range of being eligible, then we ramp up the activity that they do to see how close they are and how well prepared they are. So, some of that will depend on how things went over the weekend and how things go Monday and Tuesday here before Wednesday’s practice for players like that. So, we’ll see how that goes. Maybe.”
Here’s a look at the five players who are eligible to return for the Patriots this week…