No need to worry about Sony Michel, apparently. The second-year running back missed nearly all of the New England Patriots‘ spring OTAs and minicamp, which stoked concerns about lingering knee injuries and the team wanting to ease his preseason workload.
Such fears appeared to be confirmed amid reports that Michel had arthroscopic knee surgery during minicamp, but the team seemed confident that he would be ready for training camp in late July. According to a report from NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, Michel’s recovery is progressing as scheduled and may even be ahead of projections.
Working out at the TB12 facility might raise an eyebrow since Patriots players working with Tom Brady’s trainer Alex Guerrero, and following regimens other than what team doctors and trainers recommended, rankled Bill Belichick a few years ago. As a result, Guerrero was banned from the Patriots sideline and team plane.
However, it appears that Guerrero did whatever was necessary to win back Belichick’s approval. He was seen on the team plane last season and considering that the campaign ended with another Super Bowl championship, Belichick must not have viewed Guerrero’s presence as disruptive. But boundaries remain, as Guerrero still isn’t allowed on the Patriots sideline.
Yet even when Guerrero was banned, Belichick said players were free to train at TB12. In the past, as reported by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, some on the team thought working out with TB12 would help earn Brady’s trust. Younger players even felt pressure to train with Guerrero at TB12.
So is it possible that Michel feels it’s in his best interests to rehab from his knee surgery at TB12? Perhaps. Missing OTAs and minicamp practices deprived him of a chance to work with Brady and familiarize himself better with the Patriots’ passing offense.
Michel only caught seven passes last year for 50 yards, so he wasn’t much of a receiving threat. But a significant factor in that may have been missing the preseason because of another procedure in which he had his knee drained.
As Giardi reported, however, most of Michel’s work at TB12 appears to be to improve strength and flexibility in the knee to make him a faster, more durable runner. Michel had a promising rookie season, rushing for 931 yards and six touchdowns on 209 carries. But he missed three regular season games.
The Georgia product seemed to get stronger as the season went on and was a force in the postseason, totaling 336 yards and six touchdowns in three games. Michel is expected to share carries with rookie Damien Harris, who projects as a better receiver and pass blocker coming out of college. But if the physical condition of his knee improves through training at TB12, Michel could conceivably earn more touches and a featured role in the offense.
Follow the Heavy New England Patriots page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!