August 28, 2018 / 11:15 PM / a year ago

Patriots RB Michel still limited, but impressing

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel remained limited in practice Tuesday as he returns from a knee procedure, but running backs coach Ivan Fears has been impressed with the first-round pick.

Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Sony Michel (1) runs the ball against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ronnie Harrison (15) during the fourth quarter in the 2018 CFP national championship college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

“I’m very happy with him,” Fears told reporters. “He’s a very hard-working kid. He’s very conscious of what he has to get done, and he gets after it. He’s been great.”

Michel had fluid drained from his knee in early August and was expected to miss the preseason, and perhaps the start of the regular season. It’s unclear if he’ll be ready for Week 1, but he returned to practice on Monday and was back on the field Tuesday, although he’s been limited for both sessions.

Fears said Michel is still being restrained a bit by doctors, but the rookie has been involved in walkthroughs, meetings and film sessions. Fears liked what he saw of the 31st overall pick in the limited time he spent on the field in July.

“(He’s been) just what we expected,” Fears said. “He was progressing well. I was really happy when we got the pads on and I got to see him run a little bit. It looks like he’s going to be what we expected him to be.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get too long into it before he got hurt, but I expect him to come back ready to go.”

The Patriots’ backfield also has been without Rex Burkhead, who reportedly has been dealing with a “slight tear” in his knee, an injury The Athletic reported is minor, adding the team is being overly cautious with the 28-year-old veteran. He participated in Sunday’s walkthrough practice, though he has not played this preseason.

The running backs are expected to take on a bigger role during the first four weeks of the season while wideout Julian Edelman serves his PED suspension.

Edelman told reporters Tuesday “it’s been a hard week” for him, as he prepares to be moved off the roster until Oct. 1.

“Real football starts soon, so it’s definitely been a reality check,” Edelman said. “I’m not going to sit here and worry about things I can’t control. Ultimately, I put myself in this situation, so it’s more of ‘let’s go and get myself ready for when I can play.’”

—Field Level Media

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