New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez injured his ankle in the team’s week two loss to the Arizona Cardinals which kept him out for three weeks. On Sunday in Seattle Hernandez made his first appearance in a game playing less than half of the snaps in the game. While Hernandez claims his ankle feels great, his lack of participation in Thursday’s practice suggests otherwise.
This week Hernandez has been adamant that his ankle feels great and he’s ready for a full return. But on Thursday several reports said that Hernandez was not seen and did not participate in practice. This could just be a precautionary measure or it could mean that Hernandez is still feeling the effects of this injury.
The Patriots could use Hernandez back to full health. While the Patriots offense has dominated without the Pro Bowler, injuries have been frequent with the offense. Pro Bowl offensive guard Logan Mankins also sat out Thursday as he continues to recover from his own injury. Running back Brandon Bolden, an undrafted free agent who has surprised everyone with outstanding performances, was roughed up Sunday in Seattle and did not participate Thursday. Two other offensive weapons that were limited Thursday were wide receivers Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. Edelman’s still recovering from an injury to his hand which he suffered during week three.
With every team in the division tied at 3-3 through six weeks, Hernandez’s full health would be a big boost for the Patriots. It would also give Tom Brady another target as All-Pro Rob Gronkowski, who has been the primary tight end this season, has struggled holding onto catches at times this season. Hernandez’s actual progress will be seen by the public Sunday when the Patriots take on their division rivals the New York Jets.