Mac Jones back at practice on Friday but status for Sunday remains unclear

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1st & Foxborough
Mac Jones is back at practice! Does it mean he'll play Sunday?
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When asked whether Mac Jones would practice on Friday, head coach Bill Belichick replied "We'll see" with a little smile.

We did see. The question is: how much do you believe?

Mac Jones was indeed back on the field for Friday's practice, lending credence to the notion that he's pushing as hard as he can to make Sunday a game-time decision for the Patriots against the Packers.

"It’s expected Brian Hoyer will be starting Sunday. But Mac Jones is still going to give it an effort to see if his ankle will respond to the point of being able to play. It might come down to a game-time decision,” Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald relayed from a source on Friday morning.

A few caveats stand out about Jones' availability on Friday, though.

Firstly, Jones barely moved for the few minutes media were available to watch practice, playing a stationary game of catch with Joe Judge as Brian Hoyer or Bailey Zappe jogged for a more dynamic warmup. Though he didn't move enough for a limp to be clearly visible, he did take a few steps behind the team's throwing net that looked less-than-comfortable. His throws also involved no motion from his lower body.

Then, there's the fact that media doesn't get to see individual drills on Fridays, which tend to be more walkthrough-style practices. Media is allowed to view stretching lines and must depart after about 5-7 minutes. As such, we never got to see Jones do anything that would inform us as to whether he could move well enough to play this weekend nor did we see how he arrived to the field -- a clever move by the Patriots.

Also, the team took things easy with Jakobi Meyers' and Kyle Dugger's respective knee injuries last week despite both appearing at practice every day last week, suggesting Jones' presence on Friday has no real bearing on his status for Sunday.

At this point, gamesmanship feels like the most likely reason Belichick and crew allowed Jones to suit up for Friday's shells and shorts practice rather than any real possibility he could play.

If Jones truly is this dogged in his desire to take the field Sunday, it seems Belichick and the Patriots medical staff will have to protect the young quarterback from himself this weekend.

Podcast Episode
1st & Foxborough
Physical therapist Mason West gives us a doctor's opinion on Mac Jones' ankle injury
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