Patriots get both good and bad news on injury front during Tuesday’s practice

Mike Gesicki returned to practice after suffering a mild dislocated shoulder last week.

New England Patriots tight end Mike Gesicki (88), left, warms up in front of tight end Hunter Henry (85) during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass.

Mike Gesicki was spotted back on the practice fields at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

During Tuesday’s practice at the fields behind Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots welcomed back some reinforcements. Tight end Mike Gesicki and running back Pierre Strong returned, both wearing red non-contact jerseys. Veteran running back Ty Montgomery also made a return after missing most of the training camp due to a leg injury.

Gesicki, who joined the team this offseason, had been aiming to form a strong tight end duo with Hunter Henry in 2023. He had been sidelined for much of the previous week due to a mild dislocated shoulder sustained on August 14th. This injury occurred during a 1-on-1 tackling drill with linebacker Jahlani Tavai, dampening what had been a promising training camp for the former Penn State player. Before the joint-practice sessions with the Packers, Gesicki had been consistently impressive during red-zone drills, showcasing his catching skills.

Despite Gesicki’s return, he was still restricted to non-contact activities, indicating that he likely won’t be cleared for game participation during the upcoming preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans. However, there’s optimism that he’ll be cleared for the Patriots’ season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 10th, as reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Pierre Strong, a second-year running back looking to secure his spot on the roster, had missed a week of practice due to entering the concussion protocol following the Patriots’ preseason opener against the Houston Texans on August 10th.

Montgomery, known for his pass-catching abilities, had been actively involved in the team’s playbook during minicamp and early training camp days. However, he suffered an injury in late July during a collision with linebacker Terez Hall in the end zone, which kept him sidelined for nearly a month. His return marked a positive step, though the addition of Ezekiel Elliott to the running-back corps could potentially impact Montgomery’s role as a receiving option.

On the flip side, there were some absences during the practice. Key players like wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, cornerback Jonathan Jones, and guard Cole Strange were still missing. Strange had not been cleared for full competitive practice since a lower-body injury in late July, while Jones had been absent since an in-stadium walkthrough session on August 4th. However, Jones is expected to be ready for the team’s season opener.

Tyquan Thornton, whose second training camp with the Patriots had been disappointing, was considered “week to week” after hurting his shoulder while making a 45-yard catch during joint practices in the previous week.

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