Before the start of the regular season, the New England Patriots lost two of their core wide receiver to injury. Julian Edelman suffered an ACL tear during the preseason that will keep him out for the year. Malcolm Mitchell, dealing with knee issues of his own, joined Edelman on the injured reserve list on the day of the season opener - with the expectation that he would return to the active roster later during the season.
However, according to ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss, the plan appears to be in jeopardy. In his Sunday notes, Reiss wrote about three candidates to return off injured reserve in Mitchell as well as linebacker Shea McClellin and defensive tackle Vincent Valentine. And while the two defenders appear to be rehabbing nicely, Mitchell's outlook does not appear to be as optimistic.
According to Reiss' estimation, Mitchell “is not close to being a consideration to begin practicing at this point, if all year”. The second-year player, who finished the 2016 season with a combined 39 catches for 476 yards and four touchdowns as a rotational option in the number three wide receiver role, could return to practice six weeks after being placed on injured reserve.
If Mitchell remains sidelined and does indeed not come back this season, the Patriots will likely continue moving forward with a wideout corps consisting of top options Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola as well as backups Phillip Dorsett and Matthew Slater. The team also currently has two receivers on the practice squad in Cody Hollister and Riley McCarron.