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A jovial Bill Belichick provides real insight on Mac Jones' injury status

Patriots 1st Down: Mac Jones more of a "week by week" situation; Brian Hoyer is a good team guy
Patriots 1st Down: Mac Jones more of a "week by week" situation; Brian Hoyer is a good team guy 02:43

BOSTON -- On Wednesday, Bill Belichick stepped to the podium and put forth a performance, repeating the phrase "day by day" 11 times while offering no information on the injury status of quarterback Mac Jones.

On Friday, it was a different Belichick at the podium, as the head coach provided much more detail and context on the situation Jones is currently dealing with this week. He also provided some rare levity.

"Well, we'll see. We'll see," a smiling Belichick said when asked if Jones will practice on Friday. "I'm sure we'll both be watching very closely."

When that reporter informed Belichick that he would not be in attendance at practice, Belichick ribbed the reporter.

"You can't make it? So, banker's hours? You off at noon?" Belichick wryly asked.

Belichick was then told by another reporter that the coach had described the Jones situation as "day by day."

"Is that the word I used?" Belichick sarcastically joked. "I can't remember exactly how I described it. Yeah, I think you're right. Did I break a record on that?"

Belichick then explained why Wednesday's press conference went the way it did.

"I wasn't trying to do that," he said, drawing laughter from reporters. "It's just when you ask the same question, I give the same answer."

With the joke portion of the routine finished, Belichick then did describe in detail why there's no exact answer for questions on Jones' status.

Here's that extensive answer, in full:

I don't know. We'll just take it as it comes -- and look, if you have an injury, you've had injuries. You've got an injury, you go out and do something. If you're OK, then you do more. If you're not OK, then you back off and you do a little less. Then you do more. Then you're OK. Then you do more. Are you going to -- you know, how's it going to feel the next day after you do something? Well, you're not going to know until the next day. Then you make a decision on the next step. 

That's -- it's not a broken bone. It's not a fracture that you're dealing with. It's a different type of injury that I mean, look, you guys took the [Ty] Montgomery story, right? I mean, we had him out for the year, we had him out for eight weeks, so he was never gonna play again, and all that, and he played in the opener against Miami. 

So I don't know, what was that? Like somebody else could have the same injury that could have healed at a different rate. We're all different. Each injury is a little bit different. 

So again, I'm not going to sit here and pretend like, you know, I've got a magic wand and crystal ball. I don't know exactly what's gonna happen. 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 the same with all of them. We have four, five, six guys like this every week, in varying degrees. Is it two days, is it four days, is it a week, is it eight days, 10 days? You know, 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. 

So walking around and going to the grocery store and pumping gas, I mean that's one thing. Going out there and competing on a football field with other elite professional athletes is -- that's different. So what feels OK, what's OK, what's competitively OK, but again, you're talking about well-conditioned athletes that heal quickly, generally speaking. I mean 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.

It was certainly a more thorough answer than "day by day."

Belichick also provided some insight on what goes into the decision on playing or sitting an injured player.

"Yeah, well, ultimately that will be a decision made by the medical people -- in consultation with Mac, of course. Like we would do with any player. He's no different than any player. I mean, he is. But just saying, the process is the same," Belichick said. "There's a medical evaluation, you talk to the player. Then as a coach you, at whatever point, get the information that you get and you make a decision if there's a decision can be made. If there's no decision to be made medically, then I'm out of it. But if there's a decision they made, that a player's at X percent, he can do this, the player feels like he can do this, 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 or the staff."

With Jones missing practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, Belichick was asked if Jones would need to practice a certain amount before playing in a game. 

"Again, I don't know. I'd have to -- we'll see. Every -- you know, situations are different," he said. "So, I think we'll just have to see how it goes. Not trying to like, run you guys around the block. It's just the truth. We'll see."

That type of thorough explanation can help explain how the reporting on Jones' injury has run the gamut from "severe injury requiring surgery" to -- most recently -- Jones being a potential "game-time decision" on Sunday.

It was certainly a bit out of character for Belichick, though he's almost never had such questions hovering over the day-to-day availability of his starting quarterback since he kept Tom Brady in as the starter over a recovered Drew Bledsoe 21 years ago.

So for now, as Belichick described in great detail, Jones' status will remain a question mark -- both from outside and from within the Patriots organization.

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