The Patriots made two selections in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. One will be out for the season with a torn Achilles. The other is also currently injured. In all, a tough start for the two rookies.
Yet while offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn won’t return this season, running back Sony Michel is still expected to contribute in a meaningful way.
Michel, selected 31st overall out of Georgia, hasn’t practiced since Aug. 1 due to injury. Initially, it was just reported as a knee injury, but Jeff Howe of The Athletic offered more details a few days afterward:
Further details w/more clarity: Michel’s knee injury requires a procedure that’s expected to keep him out of preseason, and perhaps even into the start of the reg season, per 2 sources. So not a major sigh of relief, but the expectation is Michel should contribute this season.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 4, 2018
Since that time, Michel has gone 11 straight practices without returning to the field, as well as both preseason games.
On Aug. 17, Howe reported that Michel’s knee had been drained due to an “issue with his meniscus.”
Sony Michel’s knee drain earlier this month was due to an issue with his meniscus, per source. Timetable hasn’t changed. Just passing along the additional detail.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 17, 2018
And Howe also noted that the expected return of Michel hasn’t changed. He’s still believed to be on track for a return this year, but could miss time “even into the start of the regular season.” The rookie is not expected to play in the preseason.
Prior to the draft, a report from former NFL executive Michael Lombardi indicated that there was apprehension regarding Michel’s injury status.
“I think I’m concerned,” Lombardi said. “There are a lot of teams telling me there’s a medical concern here, so he could slip a little bit. I don’t know what it is, but the way the medical works at the combine is there’s a table with like six doctors from each team at one table and six different from another team at another table. His medical grade is a little iffy from what I’m told.”
Following the draft, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said the team was aware of the perception of injury concern about Michel.
“There’s a lot of information that we sort through. So in the end whatever you have with the player, you take everything that comes along with it,” Caserio explained. “So you’re either comfortable or you’re not comfortable with a player’s situation. So you take a lot of that information in. In the end we felt we were comfortable with the player so we went ahead and made the pick.”
Prior to the start of training camp, Michel was a full participant in organized team activities (OTAs) during the offseason, as well as minicamp.