Report: Dion Lewis' recovery has been 'encouraging'

James White couldn't corral several sideline passes from Tom Brady during the AFC Championship game, which could have changed the tenor of the contest, and, perhaps, history.

The prevailing thought throughout New England remains that had Dion Lewis not torn his ACL, he catches those passes, sending the Patriots to the Super Bowl.

While we can't change history, we can look forward to Lewis' return in 2016.

To that end, ESPN's Mike Reiss reports that Lewis' recovery has been "encouraging" to Dr. James Andrews, who performed the ACL surgery in November. Lewis checked in with Andrews in January, leaving the doctor feeling "things were exactly where they should be, if not better," per the report.

The Patriots will take it slow with Lewis' offseason workouts, but, as Reiss points out, the running back should be back on the field when games matter in September. The question will be how long it takes the shifty speedster to get up to full-speed after another leg injury.

Lewis was a difference maker out of the backfield for the Patriots before going down with an injury. His stop-and-start moves in open space flabbergasted defenses and Brady excelled at finding the back in mismatches with slow-footed linebackers.

While the Patriots will be rumored to potentially add another back this offseason -- Matt Forte is already being linked as an option -- a healthy Lewis would be the lead back over any rusher Bill Belichick snags from the free agent heap.

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