Cam Newton practices at New England Patriots minicamp after hand injury during OTAs

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Ten days after suffering a minor injury to his right throwing hand, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton participated in practice as the team opened mandatory minicamp in Foxborough.

Newton had not been present at last Thursday's practice when reporters were present, but he returned the following day. The hand apparently responded well.

"He practiced last week. I'd expect him this week too," Belichick said Monday before the team took to the practice field.

Newton has been taking top repetitions in spring practices, with Belichick having previously declared him the team's quarterback. Belichick had left open the possibility that Newton could face a challenge for the starting job when the team shifts from a spring teaching mode to more of an evaluation mode at the start of training camp in late July.

In Newton's absence last Thursday, third-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham was the first player to take snaps, followed by veteran Brian Hoyer and then first-round draft pick Mac Jones.

Jones was complimentary of Newton, noting that he gave him the nickname "Mac and Cheese" while calling him a "good mentor."