The New England Patriots may or may not have two of their most notable starters back on the field for Monday night’s divisional showdown with the Buffalo Bills, but both Sony Michel and Rob Gronkowski took steps to returning on Saturday.
The former, who leads the Patriots in rushing and ranks among the NFL’s top rookie running backs, was carted off during the Patriots’ Week 7 win over the Chicago Bears with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. An MRI this week revealed Michel did not suffer any structural damage, and he is still listed as doubtful for Monday’s game on the Patriots’ official injury report. But fears of a long-term or even two-week absence may have been exaggerated, as Michel was at least a limited participant at Saturday’s practice.
Gronkowski, meanwhile, looks as if he may suit up on Monday night after missing Week 7 with a back injury. The oft-injured star tight end, who hasn’t played a full season since 2011, was also limited at Saturday’s practice, as he was the previous two days. But he has a questionable tag on the Patriots’ injury report, and his comments earlier in the day suggest he’s a lock to make the trip to Buffalo after staying at home in Week 7.
“It’s going to be nuts,” Gronkowski said, according to the Providence Journal‘s Mark Daniels. “Hands down … I’m from Buffalo, they’re going to be starting early … it’s going to be popping. Straight popping.”
If Michel remains sidelined, fifth-year veteran James White would be in line to start for New England at running back, with Kenjon Barner serving as the No. 2. In the event Gronkowski sits out, Dwayne Allen would likely reprise the No. 1 tight end spot he filled in Week 7.
For full analysis on Patriots injuries and more, be sure to check out CBS Sports’ injury report breakdown for Week 8 of the NFL season.
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