The Patriots received some good news concerning their backfield, however, as James White, the team's top "passing back" who missed the past two games with an ankle injury, is active.
Burkhead, who practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday, initially hurt his left knee in a Dec. 17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and hasn't played since. Without his dual-threat ability as a rusher and pass-catcher, the Patriots' offense sputtered at times in December.
The 27-year-old, who rushed for 264 yards and five touchdowns this season, told reporters Thursday that he was "excited" about the prospect of returning against the Titans.
"After the [knee] injury, you never know what is going to happen," Burkhead told reporters. "So that's always in the back of your head. But when you get good news, it helps you to look forward to these games a little better."
Gillislee practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday for the first time since he injured a knee in Week 16 against the Bills. Prior to that game, he had missed six games -- five as a healthy scratch and one because of illness.
ESPN's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.