Stuff that matters

While it seems unlikely, the Patriots are still leaving open the possibility that quarterback Mac Jones could play in Sunday’s game against the Packers.

In his Friday press conference, head coach Bill Belichick did not repeat Wednesday’s “day by day” mantra. But he did say, “We’ll see” when asked if Jones will practice, reiterating that Jones will have to be cleared by the medical staff before he’s in a position to play.

“He’s no different than any other player,” Belichick said. “I mean, he is, but I’m just saying the process is the same. There’s a medical evaluation, you talk to the player, and as a coach you, at whatever point, get the information that you get and you make a decision if there’s a decision to be made. If there’s no decision to be made medically, then I’m out of it.

“But if there’s a decision to be made — the player is at X percent and he can do this, the player feels like he can do this [and] he’s ready to play, then I’ll make a decision: Do I want this player at X percent or somebody else at, let’s call it, 100 percent. But a lot of times it never gets to that point. Occasionally, it does. If it does, then that becomes my decision in consultation with the player and usually his position coach for the staff.”

Belichick said he also didn’t know whether or not Jones’ injury will keep him out for multiple weeks, in large part because it’s not a broken or fractured bone.

“I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I’ve got a magic wand or crystal ball and I know exactly what’s going to happen,” Belichick said. “Nobody knows. I don’t know. He doesn’t know. Doctors don’t know. Take it as it comes and see what happens.

“It’s hard to tell until you actually get out there and perform at a level that’s comparable to what a professional football player has to do. … Bones are bones. But guys that are in training, guys that are well conditioned that are healthy, come back quicker than others of us, let’s call it.”

The situation has apparently been fluid all week. Jones was initially reported to have a “pretty severe” high-ankle sprain, which would presumably keep him out for multiple weeks. But Jones has reportedly been telling teammates that he could still play.