Brian Fluharty/USA Today Sports

What Sony Michel injury means for rookie running back, Patriots

Ryan Hannable
August 06, 2018 - 12:37 pm

Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel left practice early last Wednesday and hasn't been seen since.

Over the weekend, it was reported he had a procedure on his knee that will keep him out for some time, which means some preseason games, and one report said potentially into the regular season.

For a rookie running back, it could not have come at a worse time.

Michel was pretty impressive over the first few days of training camp as it was clear the Patriots liked his speed and had plans in place to get him the ball in space and let him take over. One screen play that went for a touchdown stood out as his best play of camp. Also, the team was using him in running plays in between the tackles, so it seemed the plan was for him to have a big role in the offense as a dual-threat running back.

While that likely remains the plan, missing extensive time this time of year is not good.

Once he returns, the Patriots will likely already be into game planning mode and the individualized attention won't be there as much since that is what training camp is for. Being a rookie, obviously there's a lot to learn and now missing so much time he will be behind. Just how far behind remains to be seen, but expectations for Michel this year may need to be lowered just because of how important this time of the year is.

What does this mean for the position?

It shouldn't effect things too much, but it pretty much guarantees either Jeremy Hill and/or Mike Gillislee will make the 53-man roster because it will be hard to count on Michel right away. Our bet is on Hill just because he can do more things than Gillislee, as he's strictly a goal-line back. The preseason is very important for not only these two running backs, but all of them as they will be competing for playing time.

Big picture, Michel's injury isn't disastrous, but the Patriots certainly hope he can return to the field sooner rather than later.

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