Jones injured a shoulder in Sunday night's 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins while attempting to tackle receiver Jaylen Waddle in the second quarter. Jones tore a labrum, according to a source, with his timetable to return to be determined, according to coach Bill Belichick.
Players on injured reserve can return after four games, but Belichick made it sound like the Patriots expect it to be a longer absence.
Asked if Jones' injury is viewed as season-ending, Belichick said Friday: "He's on IR for right now. He'll be out for a while. It's unfortunate. He had a really good rookie year [in 2022]. Explosive player."
The 5-foot-8, 188-pound Jones finished second in the NFL last season with a 12.5-yard punt return average, and was second in total return yards with 1,007. He was seventh in kickoff return average (23.9).
On defense, he played 33% of the snaps as a reserve and totaled 35 tackles and two interceptions. He chipped in on offense as well, playing 18 snaps last season and totaling four catches for 78 yards and one touchdown.
In his absence, the Patriots turned to rookie Demario "Pop" Douglas -- a sixth-round draft choice out of Liberty -- as their primary punt returner Sunday. Veteran Ty Montgomery II has been the top kickoff returner this season.
To fill Jones' spot on the roster, the Patriots signed quarterback Will Grier off the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad. Grier will be the team's third/emergency quarterback for Sunday's game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
"We want to work with him," Belichick said of Grier, who slots behind starter Mac Jones and No. 2 Bailey Zappe on the depth chart. "We feel like we need depth at that position -- [had] two quarterbacks [and it's a] long year."
The Patriots are 0-2 and looking to avoid their first 0-3 start since Belichick's first year as coach, 2000.