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Patriots QB Mac Jones (ankle) limited at practice; rookie Bailey Zappe in line to start vs. Lions?

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Are you ready for a second look at Bailey Zappe?

The Patriots rookie quarterback appears in line to start Sunday’s game against the Lions, barring speedier than expected recoveries for both starter Mac Jones and backup Brian Hoyer.

Hoyer did not practice Wednesday as he still deals with the aftereffects of a concussion suffered early in the Patriots' Week 4 loss to the Packers. Meanwhile, Jones made his way out to practice and looked noticeably better than he did at the tail end of last week, when the Pats appeared to bring out the second-year pro to at least give Green Bay pause in it's game preparations.

Jones is still dealing with what sources have described as a "fair bit of instability" in his left ankle after he suffered a high ankle sprain at the end of a Sept. 25 loss to the Ravens. On Wednesday, Jones did not attempt so much as a jog during the brief window of practice time reporters were allowed to watch. Jones still had a limp and seemed cautious about getting on his toes when he threw the ball. Considering where Jones was last week, however, Wednesday's work was a good sign as he officially listed as a limited participant.

"Sure, he's definitely made progress," Bill Belichick told reporters before Wednesday's practice started.

But as for a timetable, well, you know better than that.

"We'll have the injury report for you," cracked the Patriots head coach about post-practice requirements. "Can't wait to get it out. Just want to make sure it's accurate so we see where things are at practice."

If Jones can't continue a rapid ascent from the injury, Zappe would get his first career start.

The former Western Kentucky star acquitted himself fairly well when thrown into the hostile environs of Lambeau Field last Sunday, completing 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards and one touchdown. He did all that after receiving more reps than he normally would during a week of practice as the backup, with the Pats preparing for the possibility that Zappe might see time depending on Hoyer's performance against Green Bay.

Now, if the top two QBs can't go, Zappe would get all the first-team reps, backed up by the just-signed Garrett Gilbert.

Follow Mike Giardi on Twitter.