Before the regular season even started, the New England Patriots already lost two of their wide receivers to injury: Julian Edelman suffered a torn ACL during the preseason and will be out for the rest of the year. Malcolm Mitchell, dealing with knee issues of his own, joined Edelman on injured reserve on the day of the season opener – with the expectation that he would return to the active roster later during the season.
So far, however, Mitchell has not started to practice and according to ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss was “not close to being a consideration to begin practicing at this point, if all year” three weeks ago. Reiss delivered another update on the injured wideout in his weekly mailbag yesterday:
The latest information I had on Mitchell's status came from someone close to him, who said on Wednesday that he is “going week by week, but not this week.” I was told Mitchell, who initially landed on injured reserve because of his knee, recently started running again.
This comes a few days after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick noted that the team has to see “how it goes” and that there “is a lot of football left” in the season. After already sitting out the first eight weeks of the season, Mitchell could return to practice at any point and subsequently be activated as one of the two returners off injured reserve (the other highly likely being linebacker Shea McClellin).
Considering that the Patriots are a bit thin at the wide receiver position especially now that Chris Hogan also suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out “a few weeks”, Mitchell would provide a boost to the team's depth. Of course, it appears as if the boost at best takes place later in the season – if at all. Anyway, the outlook no longer seems to be as bleak as it once was.