When New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman last saw game action on a football field, he had just completed a 10-catch, 141-yard, performance; en route to a 13-3 Pats victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. While the reigning Super Bowl MVP once again figures to be a prominent piece in New England’s offense, he may have to wait awhile before rejoining his teammates on the field.
On Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Field Yates reported that Edelman is expected to miss at least three weeks with a thumb injury. As a result, he will be absent for a significant portion of Patriots Training Camp, as well as (in all likelihood) some preseason games, as well.
While hosting a youth football camp over the weekend, Edelman was spotted with a small brace on his left thumb. The Pats wideout wore gloves over both his hands, which somewhat concealed the brace. At this time, it is uncertain as to when or how he obtained the injury. It has been conjectured that it is either a break or sprain, perhaps suffered while catching a pass during training drills. In any case, New England will be without one of its most prominent offensive weapons when training camp opens on Thursday in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
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Edelman will not be the only offensive notable missing from the Patriots’ practice field this week. Tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement during the offseason, and wide receiver Josh Gordon remains suspended. On Sunday, the team announced that running back Sony Michel and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas will open camp on the physically unable to perform list.
However, the news of Edelman’s injury is not quite the ‘Sword of Damocles’ which it may originally seem. The absences of Edelman, Thomas and Gordon should lead to extended work for a young Patriots’ wide receiver group, in need of reps with the first-unit offense. This receiving corps includes 2019 first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett, Braxton Berrios, Jakobi Meyers, Maurice Harris and Dontrelle Inman. Each of these roster hopefuls should receive greater opportunity to showcase their talents to the Patriots coaching staff. It will be especially significant to note their ability to develop synergy with quarterback Tom Brady. During minicamp in June, Harris and Berrios put forth stellar efforts in that regard. The rookie, Harry, has spent time working out with Brady, in both private and professional settings.
Save for any setbacks in his recovery, Edelman (who signed a new three-year deal this offseason) is not currently expected to miss time beyond the projected three weeks.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC