Mike Gilislee overcoming hamstring injuries, participating fully in practice
Fred Kfoury III / Icon Sportswire
The Patriots signed Mike Gillislee away from their division rivals in Buffalo to replace Legarrette Blount's bruising between-the-tackles style in the backfield. Unfortunately, Gillislee has been limited throughout much of the spring and camp thanks to nagging hamstring injuries. Finally a full participant since Tuesday, the back was spotted running and cutting in drills without his typical red no-contact jersey:
Yet while it's good to have him back, the ailment is something the team can't afford to overlook. Hamstring problems have dogged Gillislee throughout his time in the league, and he landed on IR for an entire season thanks to his leg back in 2014. He confirmed that there was no structural damage to the area, saying that "I tried to burst on one those plays at the beginning of camp, it just happened and I was able to get an MRI and everything was good," but the top concern for now should be easing him back into the NFL grind as slowly as possible to keep him healthy down the stretch.
Even if the former Bill isn't ready for the start of the year, it's not like Bill Belichick won't have options in the backfield. Fellow newcomer Rex Burkhead made a splash against the Texans last week, and Dion Lewis and James White will provide plenty of receiving savvy out of the backfield. In a pinch, Burkhead could substitute in for Gillislee between the tackles, with him or even fullback James Develin handling goal-line duties as well. Thankfully, that's a dilemma New England won't have to face for now: with Gillislee back as a full participant, he should be plenty capable of assuming his full role in the offense by Week 1.