According to ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss, Patriots RB and Albany native Dion Lewis could be as close as one month away from playing in a game.

Obviously, we are more than three months from the season starting, so Lewis' chance to play in the Sept. 11 opener for New England appears promising.

But Reiss also notes that the Pats will continue to monitor his situation closely. The shifty back tore his ACL on Nov. 8 against the Washington Redskins.

He was a big part of the Pats early-season success this year, carrying the ball 49 times for 234 yards and two touchdowns. But he was also a huge weapon out of the pass game for Tom Brady, catching 36 balls for 388 yards and two touchdowns.

With the possible suspension of Brady still looming, Lewis' health could have an even bigger impact on the Patriots early season this year. The Pats continue to be a major favorite in the AFC East.