UPDATE - 6:26 PM: According to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe, the Patriots will activate Dion Lewis to the 53-man roster, but no decision has been made in regards to his status for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
5:51 PM - FOXBORO -- At long last, the Patriots could be preparing to activate running back Dion Lewis off of the physically unable to perform list.
The team released running back Tyler Gaffney on Thursday, opening up the requisite roster spot that Lewis' activation would require. Lewis has been on PUP since before the start of training camp, and he began practicing in the days leading up to New England's Week 8 win over Buffalo. The deadline for the Patriots to activate Lewis or place him on season-ending injured reserve is set for the days leading up to the Week 11 game between the Patriots and 49ers.
In the limited practice time that media members are allowed to watch in recent weeks, Lewis has appeared to move well. Teammates have been excited to see him back on the practice field, as has the Patriots coaching staff. That the medical and training staffs might be willing to give Lewis the "OK" to play soon -- a week before the team is forced to make a decision -- is an indication of Lewis' progress.
The diminutive all-purpose back has undergone two surgical procedures on the same knee in the last year. His ACL was repaired late last season, and he was on track to participate in training camp until suffering a setback in the form of a patella fracture. That also required surgery, landing him on the PUP list.
Gaffney was recently promoted to the active roster off of the practice squad and served as the "big back" backup to LeGarrette Blount. Gaffney has practice-squad eligibility remaining and could re-sign to the Patriots p-squad should he clear waivers. The Patriots have an open practice-squad spot after defensive lineman Anthony Johnson was signed to the Jets active roster this week.