Burkhead (neck) returned to practice Thursday, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports. With that, Burkhead assumes the Patriots' second (and final) designated to return IR slot. The running back isn't eligible to play in a game until Week 13, so he'll have some time to get in shape and re-prove his health with an eye toward helping the Patriots down the stretch and into the postseason. Assuming he's activated when eligible, Burkhead's fantasy prospects at that time will be tied to the status of top back Sony Michel (who is currently dealing with a knee injury) and change-of-pace stalwart James White. In any case, Burkhead's versatility would no doubt bolster the team's backfield depth, and he'd provide a capable injury fill-in for either Michel or White.
The Patriots will place Burkhead (neck) on injured reserve Wednesday, Jim McBride of The Boston Globe reports. After sustaining a concussion in the Patriots' season-opening win over the Texans, Burkhead was cleared to play in the team's last two games, only to exit the Week 3 loss to the Lions with a neck injury. The Patriots didn't offer much clarity on the severity of Burkhead's setback after the game concluded, but his impending move to IR suggests it's a week-to-week concern at the very least. Burkhead will now be sidelined for a minimum of seven games with the injury, though if he demonstrates the desired progress in his recovery, he could be a candidate to return from IR as soon as the Nov. 25 game against the Jets. With Burkhead now out of the backfield mix until further notice, Sony Michel profiles as the team's primary rusher, with James White likely to handle most of the work on passing downs.
Burkhead, who was evaluated for a neck injury in the second half of Sunday's loss to the Lions, did not return to the game, Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald reports. Prior to his exit from the game, Burkhead had a minimal role in the Patriots' Week 3 offense, with rookie Sony Michel leading the team's backfield with 14 carries for 50 yards. Burkhead, who dealt with concussion symptoms leading up to Week 2, now has another injury to contend with as the Patriots commence preparations for Week 4's matchup against the Dolphins. Banged up and losing touches to Michel, Burkhead's fantasy prospects have taken a downturn since he logged 18 carries for 64 yards Week 1, a game which Michel missed as he recovered from a knee issue.
Burkhead is questionable to return to Sunday's game against the Lions due to a neck injury. Burkhead exited the game in the third quarter without seeing a carry, though he did contribute two receptions for 26 yards through the air. In his absence, Sony Michel will continue to handle the majority of between-the-tackles work while James White steps in on passing downs.
Burkhead (concussion) rushed six times for 22 yards and wasn't targeted in the passing game during Sunday's 31-20 loss to the Jaguars. New England is notoriously inconsistent with its running back usage, but things didn't look good for Burkhead in Sony Michel's (knee) debut. Michel got a team-high 10 carries and was targeted twice while James White caught seven of eight targets and added four carries. If Michel handles most of the rushing duties moving forward and White serves as the receiving back, that doesn't leave much of a role for Burkhead.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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