As relayed by Rotoworld around midday on Thursday, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that the “sense” around Pats camp right now is that rookie Sony Michel, who just returned to the practice field this week after missing most of the summer with a “minor” knee issue, isn’t as likely to be ready for the start of the regular season as Rex Burkhead, another Pats running back who is supposedly recovering from a mysterious knee injury.
COOL. At this point, with pretty much the entire offense being injured or in injury purgatory, I think I might be able to persuade Bill and Josh to at least bring me in for a workout. Right??!! (All 5’7″, 150 pounds of me, with a solid 6.0-plus-second 40-time to boot. WATCH OUT.)
But no in all seriousness, this isn’t good.
First and foremost, while I’ll admit that I was pretty amped when we initially took Michel this past May, I presented his 2018 stat projections with cautious optimism (which now might not even be cautious enough) during my initial Pats running back preview at the end of July.
My reasoning: Not only do the Pats already have a solid stable of backs, each of whom was already set to get their fair share of touches in 2018, but the team also knew full well about his deteriorating knee issues, which date back to high school, before drafting him in the first round. Lo and behold, here we go again.
So what does this mean?
It means that Rex Burkhead better friggin’ be healthy. It also means my boy James White could get more burn, and either Jeremy Hill or Mike Gillislee – whichever of the two win the final spot in the rotation – are going to need to step up as well. (It also means you should probably knock Michel down a few pegs on your fantasy draft board.)
As I said in my Patriots fantasy preview last week – another article in which I expressed concern with Michel – knee issues do not just go away, especially chronic ones that don’t result from a one-off injury. So while he certainly could be ready to play again at some point within the next month, it’s probably not likely; also, even if he is, you know we’ll eventually be right back in this boat once again in the not so distant future.
I hope I’m wrong, Pats Nation, and I’m hoping for the best. But we’re not off to a good start here, and there’s a chance it could get even worse.