Cam Newton's on-field work during organized team activities was cut short on Friday because of a hand injury.
NFL Network's Mike Giardi noted it appeared that Newton hit his hand on a teammate's helmet while throwing a pass.
After Newton's day came to an end, Howe noted that first-round pick Mac Jones and Jarrett Stidham alternated reps with the first-string offense.
Expectations are high inside the Patriots organization for Newton this season. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters on Thursday the 2015 NFL MVP has a "different grasp of the offense, a different understanding of the terminology" than he did last year.
Now in his second season with the Patriots, Newton will be looking for a strong bounce-back campaign in 2021. He threw for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. The 32-year-old did add 592 yards and 12 touchdowns as a runner.
Newton's absence will allow New England to get an extended look at what Jones, the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, can do with the first-team offense. Stidham and Brian Hoyer are other quarterbacks on the Patriots roster.