BOSTON (CBS) — Another chapter has been added to the will he or won’t he saga that is Malcolm Mitchell’s 2017 season.

The second-year receiver has been on injured reserve with a knee injury since the summer, but he is eligible to return to the active roster if he is deemed healthy enough to play. The NFL allows teams to activate two players off IR, and the Patriots have used just one so far this season (Shea McClellin).

While it’s unknown what condition Mitchell is in physically, and while this week’s addition of Kenny Britt adds some competition on the receiver depth chart, there was a positive sign on Friday in Mitchell’s possibility of getting on the field.

According to reports, Mitchell was spotted in the Patriots locker room on Friday wearing cleats — an indication that at the very least, Mitchell was getting in some real work on a practice field.

It is without question a positive sign that Mitchell at least has some hope of getting on the field for the postseason, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll get all the way back to full health. As the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reported this week, the Patriots certainly aren’t banking on a Mitchell return, and the Britt signing would seem to accentuate that.

Still, after a message on Instagram and a locker room appearance that generated a lot of attention, Friday’s news shows that the hope is still alive.

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