The pass-catching back will miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season.
The Patriots offense will already be short-handed for four games due to the Tom Brady suspension. According to a report, the team also seems resigned to life without Dion Lewis for awhile.
A source tells Field Yates for ESPN that the Patriots will place Lewis on the physically unable to perform list for the beginning of the 2016 season. As a result, the fifth-year running back will not be eligible to return until after Week 6.
Lewis sustained a torn ACL last season and has not practiced for the Patriots since OTAs. He underwent a second “clean-up” surgery in August, so news that he won’t be ready to go right away is not entirely a surprise.
Still, it’s another blow for the Patriots, and particularly for backup quarterback Jimmy Garappolo, who will be charged with keeping the ship afloat in Brady’s absence. Lewis emerged as a nice safety blanket in the passing game last season, finishing with 36 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns in seven games. He also carried 49 times for 234 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s odd to think a journeyman like Lewis, who had minimal impact in the NFL before joining the Patriots, could be so valuable. Sure, the Patriots went on to appear in the conference championship game without him last season, but that was with Brady under center. No doubt, they’d like to have all hands on deck for Garappolo, but that’s not going to be the case.