FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In passing along news that the New England Patriots have a season-low three players on their initial injury report of the week -- tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), defensive tackle Alan Branch (back) and wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot) -- it sparked some questions on Twitter on if that is good news for running back Dion Lewis.
@MikeReiss any word on dion lewis' playing status— Sebastian Pontrelli (@seabass_pontch) November 10, 2016
Here are some of the key points to know on Lewis:
Not on injury report because he isn't on 53-man roster: Lewis isn't listed on the team's injury report because he has yet to be activated to the 53-man roster. Teams aren't required to detail the injury status of players not on the 53-man roster.
Six practices in the bank: Since the Patriots "started the clock" on Lewis and had him practice for the first time on Oct. 27, there have been a total of six practices. Two were lighter sessions during the bye week. Of the six practices, two have been in full pads. There are two more practices scheduled for this week (not full pads), which would give Lewis eight practices if the team was planning on having him active for Sunday's game against the Seahawks.
4 p.m. Saturday is deadline to be active for Sunday: The Patriots generally wait until the last minute possible to make roster moves, figuring that the less time the opponent knows their intentions, the better. Thus, if the Patriots plan to activate Lewis to the 53-man roster, 4 p.m. ET on Saturday is the latest they can do so. A player would have to be moved off the roster to make room for Lewis, with running back Tyler Gaffney one possibility.
Video: RB Dion Lewis (33) works on running with good pad level. pic.twitter.com/PmLJBN7YVE— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) November 8, 2016
Locker-room feel: Lewis has been more visible in the locker room during the media-access period in recent days, but when approached for comment on Wednesday, he said he hadn't been given clearance to speak with reporters at this point. One teammate described his view of Lewis this way: "He looks like he's moving really well. Obviously, he had a setback, but you couldn't tell that out on the practice field."
4 p.m. on Nov. 17 is deadline to be promoted to roster: Teams have three weeks to have a PUP player practice without counting against the 53-man roster. That means the Patriots have until 4 p.m. next Thursday before they have to make a decision on Lewis with the big picture in mind. At that point, he would either have to be moved to the 53-man roster or placed on injured reserve.
What to expect: Those close to Lewis have expected a cautious approach even once Lewis is promoted to the 53-man roster. James White has been a capable fill-in, and the two would likely split snaps in the "passing back" role initially, with Lewis ultimately taking on more of the load as he gains a greater comfort level with his previously injured left knee.