BOSTON (CBS) — Chances are Malcolm Mitchell will not be returning to the Patriots this weekend.
Mitchell was absent from practice again on Wednesday, meaning the wide receiver likely won’t be activated off injured reserve ahead of Saturday’s AFC Divisional Round game against the Tennessee Titans. The Patriots can activate the second-year receiver up until 4 p.m. on Saturday, but after missing two days of practice that probably won’t happen.
A knee injury kept Mitchell out of the regular season, but he was designated to return from IR ahead of New England’s Week 17 win over the New York Jets. That started a countdown for the Patriots to activate Mitchell, which they’ll have to do before January 17 should they beat the Titans this weekend.
In addition to Mitchell, linebacker Marquis Flowers was also not spotted at the start of Wednesday’s practice. A reliable player on special teams, Flowers came on strong for the Patriots’ defense at the end of the season, racking up 3.5 sacks and 14 combined tackles over the last two games of the regular season.
Flowers missed the practice due to an illness.
Running back Mike Gillislee was also absent from Wednesday’s session, but Rex Burkhead was back out on the field for the Patriots. Burkhead is working his way back from a knee injury he suffered in Week 15 in Pittsburgh.
For the Titans, running back DeMarco Murray has been officially ruled out by Tennessee head coach Mike Mularkey. He tore the MCL in his right knee two weeks ago and has not played or practiced since. Derrick Henry will get the start in the Tennessee backfield for the second straight week, after he ran for 156 yards and a touchdown in the Titans 22-21 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round.