Monday brought some clarity regarding the status of Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, but the timetable for his return is still unknown.
Jones suffered a high ankle sprain in the final moments of New England’s 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, a league source confirmed. After X-rays following the game came back negative, Jones underwent an MRI and additional testing Monday morning.
The initial results revealed a “pretty severe” ankle sprain with ligament damage, according to NFL Network. Jones will seek a second opinion before making a decision on potential surgery and establishing a recovery plan.
Jones, who did not speak to the media after Sunday’s game, took questions virtually Monday afternoon, but revealed very little. In nearly every answer, Jones stressed he is taking things “day by day” and intends on following his usual treatment schedule.
Does he plan to play Sunday against Green Bay? Is he confident he will play again this season? What exactly happened on the play? Most questions pertaining to the injury received a response along the same lines.
“Just going to take it day by day,” Jones said. “Get my treatment and do what I do.”
Jones deferred to coach Bill Belichick for any further details on his status.
“I’m just taking it day-to-day and making sure everything’s good,” he said. “Honestly, any injury questions are Coach Belichick’s thing. So, I’m not here to answer them.”
Belichick, who spoke early Monday morning before Jones, was equally unrevealing. According to Belichick, the team had “nothing definitive” on Jones’s status.
“No update on him,” Belichick said.
Ankle sprains have a wide range of severity, which makes it difficult to judge how quickly a player can bounce back. For example, Patriots running back Ty Montgomery suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason finale against Las Vegas and recovered in time to play in the regular-season opener against Miami two weeks later.
Montgomery played 21 of the offense’s 57 snaps and scored the team’s only touchdown. The Patriots then placed him on injured reserve the following Tuesday.
A stint on injured reserve requires a player to miss at least four games. New England’s next four opponents are the Packers, Lions, Browns, and Bears. Asked if he anticipates Jones going on IR, Belichick wouldn’t say.
“Until we get more information, I’m not going to speculate wildly on what it would or wouldn’t be,” he said.
Should Jones miss time, the Patriots have veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie Bailey Zappe available at quarterback. Belichick showed no interest in discussing those options, keeping his answers about both players brief.
Hoyer, who turns 37 next month, would likely get the start for Week 4 at Green Bay if Jones is sidelined. He made his last start in Week 4 of the 2020 season against Kansas City because Cam Newton was sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19. Hoyer completed 15 of his 24 pass attempts for 130 yards, threw an interception, and lost a fumble in New England’s 26-10 loss.
Zappe, meanwhile, has yet to be active for a game this season.
So, how might the Patriots respond if they do have to move forward without Jones?
“I hope we don’t have to find that out, but I do believe that we’ll respond the right way,” said captain Matthew Slater. “We’re very early on in our season here. If we don’t handle it the right way, this thing can spiral away from us. Needless to say, you lose a player at that position of that caliber, it is challenging. But we have confidence in all the quarterbacks on our roster.”
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