Defensive tackle Ron Brace hasn’t been a part of an organized Patriots practice in nearly ten months.
The third-year defensive lineman out of Boston College, recovering from offseason elbow surgery, was lifted from the PUP list on Tuesday.
Yet, it’s still unclear when he return to action for the AFC East-leading Patriots, who are on Bye this week.
“I can’t know how it’ll hold up in a game until I get out there and throw it around in practice. That’s all I’ve been waiting for, contact with somebody else,” Brace said. “Because that’s what I really need to gauge myself. This is just the first test. Am I going to be close to what I was? Am I going to be a factor? This is me just trying to find my spot.”
Brace wasn’t the only PUP member returning. Running back Kevin Faulk(knee surgery; tore ACL in Week 2 at Jets last season) and defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick (shoulder surgery) were also out on the field on the first day for PUP players to practice.
The team has three weeks from yesterday to decide whether any of the trio will be promoted to the 53-man roster or land on season-ending injured reserve.
With Mike Wright’s season ending last week due to a concussion, and Myron Pryor (shoulder) already out for the year, the defensive line is already a bit thin – meaning the B.C. alum could find the field soon.
The 6-foot-3, 330-pound Brace, a second-round selection in 2009, started 5 out of 13 contests last season for the team – registering 23 tackles, 15 solo stops.
Cannon update: Rookie fifth-round pick offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (TCU) is eligible to come off the reserve non-injury list in the next few weeks. The 6-foot-5, 358-pound cancer survivor has the versatility to play both tackle and guard spots according to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.