Mac Jones misses Patriots practice due to illness, reportedly not COVID-related

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Mac Jones absent from Patriots practice due to illness originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's been a rough few days for Mac Jones.

The Patriots quarterback suffered a back injury in New England's loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday after taking a very hard hit in the fourth quarter. Jones' injury appears to be healing quickly -- he was a full participant in Wednesday's practice -- but the QB now has another ailment, it appears.

Jones missed Thursday's Patriots practice due to an illness, the team announced. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Jones' illness isn't COVID-related and that he's dealing with an upset stomach.

It sounds like Jones' illness is nothing serious, so if he returns to practice Friday, he'd be on track to play Sunday against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. If Jones can't suit up, veteran backup Brian Hoyer likely would get the start.

The Patriots need Jones to be on the field and at his best at Acrisure Stadium after scoring just seven points on 271 yards of total offense in Week 1. New England's offensive line also needs to improve its communication after a few breakdowns against the Dolphins led to shots on Jones.

The Steelers sacked Joe Burrow seven times in their season-opening win over the Cincinnati Bengals, so expect them to have an aggressive pass rush in Week 2, even without the injured T.J. Watt.