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Nearly a week after leaving practice with a bone bruise in his throwing hand, Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is still unable to take the field while recovering from the injury. But coach Bill Belichick did not appear overly concerned with the ailment when addressing reporters Thursday, saying Newton is "doing all right" and "getting better." For the time being, however, the veteran signal-caller will remain sidelined, enabling first-round draft pick Mac Jones more opportunities to earn snaps as the No. 1 QB.

"He's doing all right," Belichick said Thursday. "He won't participate today, but he's getting better."

Asked if Newton's injury is serious, the coach downplayed its severity without committing to an immediate recovery.

"Uh, no," he said. "Well, he's not out there, so ... but I think he'll be all right, yeah."

In other words, at least for now, the Pats are simply being cautious with the 32-year-old QB, who hasn't played a full season in four years. Behind closed doors, they might also just be interested in getting eyes on Jones, who began filling in for Newton last week by splitting 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 reps with reserves Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. The 15th overall pick is widely expected to open 2021 behind Newton on the depth chart, but it's possible the rookie could take over as QB1 early in the year, if not ahead of Week 1.

It's unclear if Newton will be ready for the Patriots' mandatory minicamp starting June 15. If he doesn't dress then, New England will not see him under center again until late July, for training camp. The longtime Panthers starter played 15 games for the Patriots in 2020, missing one game due to COVID-19 and playing through other injuries while posting some of the worst passing marks of his career.