Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is dealing with an abdomen injury as the team prepares for a trip to California for games against the Chargers and Rams in a span of five days. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has turned up on the injury report for the first time all season after he was a limited participant in practice Wednesday because of an abdomen injury.

While Newton is likely to play Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers, it’s still a bit unsettling when a quarterback has an injury. Asked if he had any concerns with regard to Newton being able to prepare and get ready for the game, Patriots Coach Bill Belichick naturally didn’t provide any hints during his Thursday media briefing.

“We’ll update it as we go through the week here,” said Belichick. “Depending on how it goes, if there’s an adjustment we need to make, we’ll make it.”

All of the Patriots were present for a chilly afternoon practice Thursday on the back fields at Gillette Stadium. Rookie linebacker Anfernee Jennings returned after missing Wednesday’s session because of an illness.

The Patriots will fly to Los Angeles on Friday, and after playing the Chargers, they’ll stay in California for a Thursday night game against the Rams.

So what about the practice squad members? They don’t travel for games, but will they spend the week in Los Angeles, too?

“I mean, we can certainly bring enough people to take care of our responsibilities and needs,” Belichick said. “We’ll try to do what’s best in terms of, again, what the individual situation is with the player and what we would be doing out there. You know, being out there on a short week is a little bit different than being out there on a full week. So, we’ll put all that together, and I think it’ll be a little different on a shorter week than it would be on a full week, but we’re still kind of working through that.”

SEAHAWKS: Josh Gordon was conditionally reinstated by the NFL and can begin the process of joining Seattle’s roster as early as Friday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated Gordon after nearly a one-year suspension following his latest off-field transgression for violations of the league’s substance abuse policies. Gordon was suspended in December 2019 for violating the league’s drug policy. He tested positive for performance enhancers and “substances of abuse,” the league said in a statement at the time.

It was the eighth time Gordon had been suspended by either his team or the NFL, including six times since 2013, mostly for violating the league’s policies on banned substances.

The league said Gordon can begin COVID-19 testing on Friday and may begin attending team and individual meetings next Wednesday should his tests come back negative. He can also begin individual workouts and strength and conditioning.

Gordon cannot practice with the team until Dec. 21 following Seattle’s Week 15 game at Washington. Gordon would be eligible to play in Seattle’s final two regular-season games.

CLOSE TO CLINCHING: The unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs are closing in on clinching their respective divisions going into Week 13.

The Steelers, who are 11-0, can wrap up the AFC North with a win over Washington on Monday night and a Browns loss against Tennessee on Sunday. The Steelers can clinch a playoff spot with either a win, or with a loss by the Raiders, Dolphins or Colts.

The Chiefs can take the AFC West again with a win over the Broncos on Sunday night and a Raiders loss to the winless Jets. A Chiefs victory would clinch a playoff spot.

In the NFC, the Saints, who have won eight in a row, can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Falcons and a loss by the reeling Bears.

BROWNS: Defensive star Myles Garrett was welcomed back with open arms after he missed two games because of COVID-19.

Garrett practiced Wednesday for the first time since he became infected with the virus. He had been sidelined since testing positive on Nov. 20. He sat out wins over Philadelphia and Jacksonville, but the Browns (8-3) are excited to have back one of the NFL’s top defenders, who was leading the league in sacks when he got sick.

GIANTS: Saquon Barkley has no doubt he will get back on the field and play once he’s finished rehabilitating the torn ACL in his right knee.

Speaking to the media on Thursday for the first time since the injury ended his season on Sept. 20, Barkley would not put a timetable on his return. The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year insists his goal is to improve 1% every day. The running back has now been hit with injuries two straight seasons. He missed three games last year because of a high ankle sprain and saw his season end in Game 2 this year.

His plan now is to attack every day and get his body back in shape.

“Hopefully, you know, it works for me. It works out for me,” Barkley said. “I don’t look at it that way, that I’m not Superman. I never viewed myself as a Superman. I wouldn’t say I put that on myself. But I had an injury last year. I was able to overcome that and I have an injury this year. And this is another challenge in a way that, you know, that I would be ready to face.”


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