The New England Patriots are playing with an injury-depleted wide receiver group right now. Only one member of the unit that appeared in Sunday's game versus the Oakland Raiders, Danny Amendola, has also been with the team last season. Two others, Chris Hogan and special teams ace Matthew Slater, are ultimately expected return later in the season but for the time being, they are out.
Second-year man Malcolm Mitchell shares their fate. After an impressive rookie campaign, Mitchell was placed on injured reserve prior to week one. Since then, he has been rehabbing his foot injury and according to ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss is “getting better, for sure”. As reported by Reiss, the 24-year old will be evaluated later this week to ultimately determine if he is a candidate to be brought back from the reserve list.
Given that he has been on the list more than eight weeks, the Patriots are able to bring Mitchell back to practice and declare him as an official returnee at any point. Once that happened, New England has three weeks to add him to their active 53-man roster or keep him on injured reserve for the rest of the season. If deemed a return player, Mitchell would take the second of two available slots.
Linebacker Shea McClellin, who will spent the remainder of 2017 sidelined, was announced as the first returnee earlier this season but after a setback during practice was shut down for good. Mitchell is the prime candidate to receive the second designation, with defensive tackle Vincent Valentine also an option.