Sony Michel, five others to start Patriots camp on PUP list

Patriots running back Sony Michel took part in the High School Athlete of the Year Awards earlier this month in Los Angeles. –Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated press

Running back Sony Michel hopes his knee will be 100 percent and ready to go for Week 1 of the regular season, but the Patriots are taking things cautiously with Michel at the start of training camp.

Michel, who sat out the Patriots’ offseason workouts after reportedly undergoing a knee scope, was one of six Patriots placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Sunday. Also placed on the list were receiver Demaryius Thomas, special teamer Nate Ebner, defensive end Dietrich Wise, cornerback Ken Webster, and tackle Cole Croston. Rookie offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste, who had quadriceps surgery before the draft, was placed on the non-football injury list.

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The seven players count against the 90-player roster limit but cannot practice with their teammates until coming off PUP. A player can only go on PUP (or NFI) at the very start of training camp, and is immediately ineligible for the list once he steps foot on the practice field. The Patriots’ first practice of training camp is Thursday morning.

Starting training camp on PUP is usually no big deal, as a player can come off the list in training camp at any time. It only becomes an issue at the end of training camp – if a player remains on PUP for the start of the regular season, he must miss a minimum of six games.

Michel appeared in 16 of the Patriots’ 19 games last year and was a workhorse in the playoffs, carrying 71 times for 336 yards and six touchdowns in the three games. Michel will likely come off PUP during camp, but he has a troubling history of knee injuries dating to college.

The Patriots drafted Alabama running back Damien Harris in the third round as insurance.

Thomas, coming off a torn Achilles’ suffered in late December, will be one to watch closely. Thomas is a candidate to start the regular season on PUP, and could give the Patriots a new weapon for the second half of the season.