Rookie Tyquan Thornton is putting in work behind the scenes while on IR
Heading into the season, rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton looked like he was going to be one of the most talked-about players on the Patriots roster. The team drafted him in the second round, 50th overall, after he paced all wide receivers with a 4.28 second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
That hype continued to build as Thornton impressed during training camp and caught a touchdown in his first preseason game. Unfortunately that momentum came to a screeching halt during the second preseason game, when Thornton suffered a broken collarbone.
That injury saw him land on IR to start the season, and took him out of the spotlight for a while. This week though, Thornton lands back in the spotlight. It’s now been six weeks since Thornton underwent collarbone surgery, which had an initial reported recovery time of 6-8 weeks. That puts him in the early end of his return-to-play window, just as he’s eligible to come off IR.
Just because Thornton hasn’t been on the field doesn’t mean he hasn’t been putting in work though. On Tuesday, Patriots assistant wide receivers coach Ross Douglas shared just how involved Thornton has been behind the scenes.
“One thing about Tyquan – ever since he got hurt against Carolina and he had the collarbone injury, he’s been locked in. He’s been dedicated to his rehab process,” Douglas noted. “Even though he hasn’t been able to do a lot of things physically, he’s been on top of the mental part of the game. Meeting with us early in the morning and just staying on top of his assignments.”
Thornton hasn’t been just looking inward, but casting a wide net to work on his game as well. According to Douglas, he’s been “watching tape from wide receivers around the league, just [seeing] how he can improve his game moving forward.”
The question now is when will Thornton be able to put that work into action on the field. “It just all depends on how he responds to his rehab and we’ll kind of see where he’s at moving forward,” Douglas said. While that’s being tracked inside the building, it was encouraging to see Thornton post a video of him working out on his own over the weekend.
Looks like Tyquan Thornton, who’s eligible to come off IR next week, was doing some backyard training this afternoon.
Will be interesting to see whether the rookie wideout is ready to practice/play as he comes back from a broken collarbone. pic.twitter.com/bpwReDDWQE
The next concrete indication of Thornton’s status will come on Wednesday. That’s the soonest he’d be eligible to return to practice, so all eyes will be on whether or not he’s on the field.
Once Thornton does return to practice – whether that’s this week or further down the line – the Patriots then have three weeks to add him to the active roster. So it’s very possible he could return to practice but not appear in a game for a week or two after that, allowing the team to ease him back into things.
Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.