Word came yesterday courtesy of “Gresh and Zo” on 98.5 The Sports Hub, that Wes Welker would be “a full participant” when Patriots training camp begins Thursday.
"He still has to be cleared medically, but sources say that will happen," was the way co-host Andy Gresh put it on the midday show.
Later in the day, a source close to the situation wasn’t as definitive with Welker’s status, telling the Herald it was more likely the wide receiver would start camp on the Active PUP list as a precaution, but that it was all subject to the evaluation by the medical staff. So while the inclination is to start Welker on the PUP list, there is a possibility he could dodge it based on what the Patriots doctors report and how coach Bill Belichick feels putting all the information together.
Should Welker avoid being put on the PUP list, it would be significant.
Obviously, given the usual recovery time from reconstructive ACL surgery, Welker would continue to stun people and defy logic. But more than that, his progress since the February surgery apparently would impress the Patriots to the point that they would forgo the ability to put him on the Reserve PUP list down the road, losing the opportunity to hold his roster spot for the first six weeks of the season.
Although a player on the Active PUP is ineligible to practice, he can be removed from the list at any time during camp. A player must be on Active PUP in order to be considered for the Reserve PUP. Players on the latter list aren’t eligible to play for the first six weeks of the season, which seemed to be the logical place for someone with Welker’s injury.
However, Welker not landing on the list would mean Belichick and the Patriots are comfortable enough with his status for him to be able to start the season as an active player.
Again, the main thing is that Welker has made considerable progress and fantasy owners might not need to shy away from drafting him after all. We'll continue to track this story and keep you updated on Welker's potential rise up the fantasy rankings.