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New England Patriots QB Mac Jones sits out practice with illness; unlikely to affect Week 2 availability, per sources


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones didn’t practice on Thursday due to an illness, according to the team.

Jones’ illness currently isn’t expected to impact his availability for Sunday’s road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to sources.

But it also isn’t ideal on a day the Patriots generally work on third-down situations, among other things. Veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie Bailey Zappe were the lone quarterbacks at Thursday’s practice.

Jones’ illness adds another layer to an eventful week for the second-year quarterback, who injured his back in Sunday’s season-opening loss and underwent X-rays shortly thereafter, which led to the cancellation of his post-game press conference.

Jones said all the tests after the game came back “fine.” He practiced fully on Wednesday and afterward reported that his back responded well.

“Feels good, keeping it warm, throwing the football,” he said, adding that he was ready to play Sunday.

The Jones-led Patriots offense committed three turnovers in a season-opening 20-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins, while the Steelers’ defense created five turnovers in a season-opening overtime victory over the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.

Before his illness, Jones said: “Steelers [have] always had that hard-nosed, turnover-type football team. They’ve kept that MO.”

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