Michel returns, Gilmore still out as Pats prepare for Jets
By KYLE HIGHTOWER - Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Patriots running back Sony Michel returned to practice Thursday, a month after being placed on injured reserve with a quad injury.

Several of his teammates either sat out or were limited for New England’s first workout of the week as the Patriots prepare for a road matchup with the Jets.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore did not participate in Thursday’s workout as he recovers from a knee injury that caused him to miss last week’s loss to Buffalo. Also sitting out were receiver N’Keal Harry (concussion); defensive tackles Lawrence Guy (shoulder, elbow and knee) and Carl Davis (concussion); and running back J.J. Taylor (illness). Twelve other players were listed as limited participants with a variety of ailments.

Michel’s return to practice and potential return to game action could provide a boost to an offense that has struggled to score points during its four-game losing streak.

Michel was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Oct. 17 and designated for return on Oct. 31. The team now has three weeks to add him to the active roster. He has appeared in three games, rushing 26 times for 173 yards and a touchdown. Michel led the Patriots with 912 rushing yards and seven TDs in 2019.

The Patriots currently rank 29th in the NFL averaging 19.4 points per game.

But they rank third in rushing offense (159.7 yards per game) thanks largely to the efforts of second-year running back Damien Harris, who has a pair of 100-yard games. His 279 rushing yards on the season rank second on the team behind quarterback Cam Newton’s 298.

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Jets’ Darnold sits out practice, but Gase thinks he’ll play
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. - Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Darnold’s sore shoulder kept him out of practice Thursday. The New York Jets remain optimistic the quarterback will play Monday night.

Coach Adam Gase said the 0-8 Jets gave Darnold an extra day of rest as the team prepares to host the AFC East-rival New England Patriots.

“We’ll see where he’s at after today,” Gase said during a video call. “I think he’s going to be able to practice tomorrow, unless something changes.”

Darnold missed two games last month after spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder against Denver on Oct. 1. He took a hard hit at Kansas City last Sunday and appeared to grimace, but remained in the game after being checked out on the sideline.

Gase said an MRI earlier in the week showed no additional damage to Darnold’s shoulder and the injury isn’t structural. He added that the team will see how the quarterback feels after he does practice and expects Darnold to be under center unless “something doesn’t feel right” in his shoulder.

Darnold will have had four days off before he attempts to practice again. While that might not seem ideal, Gase feels “pretty good” about Darnold’s chances of playing.

“I think it’s going to take a lot for him to stay out of this game,” Gase said.

In other injuries, defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (hamstring), wide receiver Jamison Crowder (groin), linebacker Blake Cashman (hamstrings) and defensive lineman Nate Shepherd (back) also sat out Thursday. Cashman was limited last Wednesday and Thursday with a hamstring issue, but missed the game last week after sitting out Friday — apparently injuring the other hamstring.

Williams has been a bright spot for the Jets this season, but didn’t finish the game against the Chiefs. Gase said he’ll be evaluated over the next few days and is a “wait-and-see” for the game. Williams leads the team with three sacks and is the only defensive lineman in the league to have three or more tackles in every game this season.

Crowder has been sidelined the past two games, but Gase thinks he’s “moving closer” to rejoining his teammates and practicing — perhaps on Friday. Despite missing four games this season, Crowder leads the Jets with 29 receptions and 383 yards receiving, and is tied with Braxton Berrios with two TD catches.

Fellow receiver Breshad Perriman remains in the concussion protocol, but Gase said he is in the next phase of his recovery and participated at practice on a limited basis Thursday. Perriman missed the game last Sunday after taking a hard hit against Buffalo two weeks ago.

Kicker Sam Ficken was also limited as he recovers from a right groin injury that has sidelined him the past two games. Sergio Castillo is 4 of 5 on field-goal attempts in Ficken’s absence, with his only miss a block last week.

Also limited were: center Connor McGovern (knee), offensive lineman Josh Andrews (shoulder), linebacker Jordan Jenkins (rib/shoulder), defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers (knee), wide receiver Vyncint Smith (groin) and tight end Trevon Wesco (ankle). The injuries to Smith and Wesco weren’t mentioned by Gase earlier, so they presumably occurred during practice Thursday.

NOTES: Gase said coordinator Dowell Loggains will remain the play-caller on offense for the third straight game. ... Rookie LT Mekhi Becton has become a bit of a sensation this season with his pancake blocks in games getting lots of buzz on social media. He lifted Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark off his feet on one play last Sunday, and added several other blocks to his growing list of highlights. “It’s unusual,” Gase said. “I mean, this is a grown-man league now. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that happen to Frank Clark before.”

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