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Malcolm Mitchell's absence sparks question of whether he stays on IR

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots are holding their first practice of the week leading into Saturday's divisional-round playoff game against the visiting Tennessee Titans, and Malcolm Mitchell's continued puts into question whether the wide receiver will remain on injured reserve or be moved to the 53-man roster.

Mitchell, the second-year receiver from Georgia, had been designated to return from the injured reserve list two weeks ago. He participated in five practices, and when asked about his progress on Tuesday morning, coach Bill Belichick said, "We see him out there trying to get back into practice and do the things he’s asked to do."

When asked how he's doing with it, because it seems he has a long way to go, Belichick said: "Exactly. That’s the way I would characterize it."

Belichick's tone didn't sound optimistic when it came to Mitchell, but it's not like the receiver position has a shortage of depth.

The Patriots are expected to have Chris Hogan, who missed seven of the final eight games of the regular season, back for Saturday's game. He would join Brandin Cooks atop the depth chart, with Danny Amendola, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt rounding things out.

Meanwhile, running back Mike Gillislee (knee) remains out of practice. He hasn't played since Dec. 24 against the Bills.