While the Patriots have been without second-year wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell for the entire season, the 2016 fourth round pick has been inching closer to a return in recent weeks. However, the team chose not to activate him for this weekend’s playoff matchup vs. the Titans, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.
Mitchell, 25, had a productive rookie campaign, collecting 32 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns. He was set to become even more impactful for this past regular season, but was forced to the injured reserve during the preseason because of a nagging knee injury.
Since Mitchell returned to practice on December 27, that means he has until next week for the team to make a decision on his availability should they move onto the AFC Championship next Sunday. The team can place him on the active roster as a player designated to return from injured reserve.
Even without Mitchell, the Patriots are now mostly healthy in terms of playmakers entering Saturday’s contest. While the team is missing Mitchell and Julian Edelman, Tom Brady will have the likes of Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Kenny Britt, Dwayne Allen and Chris Hogan, who will be returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for seven of the team’s final eight games.
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