FOXBORO — Just two days before America’s signature holiday, New England Patriots center David Andrews channeled the inner spirit of arguably its signature writer, Mark Twain.
In short, “reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.”
As the six-time team captain was helped from the field after suffering a thigh injury in the Patriots 10-3 victory over the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium, speculation ran rampant that the 30-year-old might be lost for the season.
Much to the surprise of many, Andrews was present on the practice fields on Tuesday, and was observed to be moving well in limited work. Per a report from MassLIVE, the Pats captain underwent tests, including an MRI, on Monday to determine the injury’s severity. Based on the results, he believed it to be “something he could play through.”
Though Andrews did not participate in all team drills at the start of the session, his presence alone provides a slight spark of hope that he may be ready for the Pats’ Thanksgiving night matchup with the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Of course, his status will ultimately be determined by the level of pain, as well as the potential for further injury throughout the week.
While the Patriots did not practice on Monday, the team estimated that Andrews would not have participated in a session, had one occurred.
In light of the multiple accounts on the subject, a source close to Patriots Country confirmed late Monday night that Andrews’ potential return “cannot be ruled out.” However, the source indicated that it is “still a bit too early” to determine his status.
At present, it remains ‘too early to determine’ Andrews’ availability for Thursday night’s matchup with the Vikings.
If Andrews is to miss minimal (if any) time, it would be a significant boost to the Patriots offensive line. The much-maligned unit surrendered six sacks of quarterback Mac Jones, while being credited for 91.1 percent (per Pro Football Focus) of the pressure faced by the Alabama product against an aggressive Jets defensive front. Jones was provided an average of 2.9 seconds per snap to evade pressure, largely due to a porous preference from a makeshift offensive line in Andrews’ absence.
While the decrease in New England’s statistical output without Andrews is clearly evident, the more significant loss may be from his positional leadership. Rookie left guard Cole Strange struggled without the Pats captain alongside him in the interior. His replacement, James Ferentz, has had his troubles in trying to replicate Andrews’ blocking prowess. Though Ferentz would be the logical choice to assume the starting position in Andrews’ stead, the team did promote rookie center (and former practice-squadder) Kody Russey to the 53-man roster on Saturday.
New England also carries guards Bill Murray and Hayden Howerton, as well as converted tight end (turned tackle) Hunter Thedford, as available options for elevation via their practice squad.
Andrews official practice status will be revealed with the team’s first active injury and participation report, which is scheduled to be released at approximately 4 p.m. ET.
Kickoff between the Patriots and Vikings is set for Thursday night at 8:20 p.m. ET
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