Pats QB Jones ruled out vs. Packers despite practice return

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New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones winds up to pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was ruled out for Sunday's game at Green Bay despite making a surprise return to the practice field.

Jones was in uniform Friday with his injured left ankle wrapped tightly as he moved gingerly during the brief portion of the workout open to media.

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It was his first time on the practice field after sitting out the first two sessions of the week. But he was listed as a non-participant in the workout on the official injury report.

Coach Bill Belichick said earlier in the week that if Jones couldn’t go, veteran backup Brian Hoyer would start in his place against the Packers.

Before practice, Belichick said the team was still in a wait-and-see mode regarding Jones’ potential availability.

“Ultimately, that will be a decision made by the medical people, in consultation with Mac, of course,” Belichick said. “He’s no different than any other player. I mean he is, but I’m just saying the process is the same. Medical evaluation, talk to the player, and as a coach you, at whatever point, get the information that you get and you make a decision, if there’s a decision to be made. If there’s no decision to be made medically, then I’m out of it.”

The decision was made sometime after Friday's workout, opening the door for Hoyer to be under center to begin Sunday's game.

He has lost his last 11 NFL starts and is 16-23 as a starter. The most recent start came in 2020 for New England in its loss at Kansas City. He stepped in that day for Cam Newton, who was out with COVID-19. Rookie third-string quarterback Bailey Zappe is also expected to be active for the first time this season to back up Hoyer.

On Monday, Jones described his status as “day by day” after Baltimore's Calais Campbell fell on his ankle late in the Patriots' 37-26 loss to the Ravens last week.

He'll now miss a start for the first time in his career. Defensive lineman Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste (thumb) were also listed as out for Sunday.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said earlier in the week that they were prepared for whoever took the field for the Patriots at quarterback.

“You’ve just got to do the best job you can. It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Brian Hoyer is a guy I’ve got a lot of respect for. ... He’s been doing it for a really long time, and he’s going to know their system inside and out."


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