New England Patriots' Mac Jones returns to practice after illness-related absence

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones returned to practice Friday after missing a day of on-field work because of an illness and is not listed on the team's official injury report.

Jones' return comes during an eventful week for him as the Patriots (0-1) prepare for Sunday's road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0).

He injured his back in Sunday's season opener at Miami and underwent X-rays immediately after that game. Jones later said all tests came back "fine," his back felt good and that he was expecting to play against the Steelers.

But then came an unexpected obstacle Thursday, when Jones was held out of practice because of an illness. He had never missed a practice up to that point.

Coach Bill Belichick said Friday that the team could alter its practice script to catch Jones up on some of the things he missed. Thursday practices generally feature a heavy emphasis on third-down situations.

Veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie Bailey Zappe took the quarterback snaps Thursday, but players always expected Jones to return.

"I hope he feels better, but not concerned," running back Damien Harris said Thursday.