Malcolm Mitchell missing from Patriots practice


FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick may have said a lot on Tuesday morning by saying very little. When the topic of Malcolm Mitchell came up, the Patriots head coach was brief.

"We see him out there trying to get back into practice and do the things he’s asked to do," Belichick said when asked what he'd seen from the second-year receiver in the last few weeks. 

Mitchell has been on injured reserve since early September, but he returned to practice Week 17, signaling a potential return. The Patriots have three weeks from his first practice to determine whether or not they would like to activate him to the 53-man roster. 

Mitchell was absent from the start ot Tuesday's practice, the team's first workout during the week of the Divisional Round, indicating that the odds of an imminent return have slimmed. Mike Gillislee was also absent from the start of Tuesday's session.

Before the practice, when it was posed to Belichick that it seems as though Mitchell has a lot of ground to make up to get back into game shape, Belichick agreed.

"Exactly," he said. "That’s the way I would characterize it."

The Patriots have been somewhat thinned at the receiver position by going without both Mitchell and Chris Hogan, who has played in one game since injuring his shoulder mid-season against the Chargers. Brandin Cooks has led the group in snaps, while Danny Amendola, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt have filled in behind on the depth chart.


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