ESPN’s Mike Reiss is one of the most tapped-in reporters on the beat, so it’s good to listen when he speculates on a topic. Reiss answered a series of questions about some injured members of the New England Patriots and their potential availability on Monday or moving forward. Here’s what he had to say.
WR Chris Hogan
“Chris Hogan felt his shoulder responded well to the week of practice,” Reiss writes. “Assuming there are no setbacks, he will be on the trip to Miami and likely is good to go for game action.”
Reiss adds that things can change, but that Hogan has a good chance to return. Adding Hogan to the lineup would be a boon with Rob Gronkowski suspended.
DL Trey Flowers
“When I asked [Flowers] Friday if he was set to return, he politely deflected the question,” Reiss states. “That was the same thing he did last week before he didn't play. I'm not sure if that means anything this week.”
Flowers is a man of mystery, but I’m already imagining the rotation of Flowers, Eric Lee, and Deatrich Wise on the edge giving problems to offensive linemen for the rest of the year. This group has so much potential.
OT Marcus Cannon
“Marcus Cannon still had his ankle in a walking boot this week, but since he hasn't been placed on injured reserve, the team obviously still believes he has a chance to return this season,” Reiss writes.
Cannon is the Patriots best offensive tackle so if there’s any chance of him returning, it makes sense to keep him on the team. Cannon’s been sidelined since the first half of week 8 against the Los Angeles Chargers, but he had been dealing with an ankle injury earlier in the year, too.
This would be the fifth straight week without Cannon practicing and high ankle sprains can take roughly six weeks to heal. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cannon started to make his way back next week with a target to start playing in the final two weeks of the year.
TE Martellus Bennett
“Martellus Bennett's locker is still full of his belongings,” Reiss reports, “but I haven't seen him around and don't believe he's currently spending a lot of time at the facility.”
It’s normal for an injured player not to be seen during their recovery process. Bennett’s focused on getting back for 2018.
WR Malcolm Mitchell and DT Vincent Valentine
“Both receiver Malcolm Mitchell and defensive tackle Vincent Valentinewere in the locker room on Friday,” Reiss notes, “so they're around and working toward a return to full health (both hoped to return this year).”
Reiss goes on to say that the player that earns the designation to return could come down to the state of the roster. If an offensive player is lost with an injury, Mitchell would return; if a defensive player is lost, then Valentine would return. That makes some sense.