According to a Thursday report from ESPN's Mike Reiss, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones expects to be ready to face the Chicago Bears on Monday night with a final decision pending practice this week.
Jones has missed three games since suffering what was reportedly a high ankle sprain during one of the final plays of the Patriots' loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3. Since then, rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe has taken the majority of the snaps, earning wins in his first two career starts against the Lions and Browns, as the Patriots have evened their season record at 3-3.
Jones has been at early portions of practice since the injury, showing improving movement during stretching each week but his status has remained in doubt. After being downgraded to out on Friday before the Lions game, Jones was ruled questionable last week and made the trip to Cleveland where he was ruled out during inactives prior to the game. Now nearly four weeks removed from the injury, the time frame matches up with an expected recovery time from a high ankle sprain.
Earlier this week, quarterbacks coach Joe Judge praised Mac's leadership during his time dealing with the injury.
"[Mac] does a terrific job of coming in every day, staying up to date on the information, getting ahead on the opponents and he prepares every day as if he's taking every snap," said Judge. "And I think that's a tribute to how he works, his mentality, the competitiveness he has and he's doing everything he can to get himself back as fast as possible."
Jones was 1-2 to start the 2022 season, throwing for over 300 yards against the Ravens but was hurt by three interceptions that undercut New England's comeback attempts in the competitive game. Since then the team has found a winning formula that should be further boosted by the return of the starter.
If fully cleared to start, Jones will face a Chicago defense that has given up the fourth-least passing yards, but the fourth-most rushing yards, while the surging 4-2 New York Jets await next week for a critical AFC East matchup.
The Patriots will hold their first practice of the week on Thursday.