ESPN’s Mike Reiss has the best information on five key injuries for the New England Patriots. You should read through his mailbag, but here are some key takeaways.
WR Malcolm Mitchell
“My understanding is that there is still a chance Malcolm Mitchell, the second-year wide receiver from Georgia, returns from injured reserve this season,” Reiss reports. “He has been telling some people close to him that he's determined to and that he's made solid progress coming back from his knee injury.”
Last week Reiss reported that the Patriots were running tests to determine whether Mitchell could return in 2017 and the fact that Mitchell hasn’t been ruled out should be considered a positive sign. He would certainly be a valued addition down the stretch.
DL Trey Flowers
“When I asked Flowers (rib) on Friday, he didn't commit to playing, which led me to believe there is still a question about whether he will be ready,” Reiss reports.
Reiss added that Flowers participated in his media responsibilities, which might not take place if he were too injured to play, but considers Flowers a game-day decision.
Edit: Patriots declare Trey Flowers OUT.
LB Kyle Van Noy
“As for Van Noy (calf), he was also limited in practice all week but was a visible presence around the locker room when reporters were present (my hunch is that he plays),” Reiss notes.
This isn’t a solid report, but Reiss has as good of a hunch as anyone about the future of players on the team. New England will need Van Noy on Sunday.
WR Chris Hogan
“Chris Hogan isn't far off, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him back on the practice field next week in a limited capacity,” Reiss reports. “He has been doing on-field work and getting his conditioning back.”
The Patriots would love to have Hogan back for week 15 against the Pittsburgh Steelers because he’s had success against their defense. Look for him to get a solid week of practice leading up to the Miami Dolphins and for the Patriots to decide whether to keep him under wraps for another week or if he should get the game reps.
RT Marcus Cannon
“I'm not as sure about Marcus Cannon, whose ankle injury sustained against the Chargers on Oct. 29 was obviously significant,” Reiss reports. “I wouldn't think it will be that much longer though.”
LaAdrian Waddle is expected to play on Sunday, so Cannon won’t be needed for another week, but hopefully the 2016 Second Team All Pro will return. He hasn’t practiced and it’s likely that he’ll need a couple weeks to get the rust off before he’s put back in the line-up.