FOXBORO -- Malcolm Mitchell was back at Patriots practice on Thursday after sitting out all of last week's workouts due to a knee injury. The rookie receiver appeared to be hobbled after making a reception against the Jets in the third quarter of his team's Week 16 victory, and he was not active for the regular-season finale in Miami.
With Mitchell back in the fold, the Patriots now have five receivers to work with: Mitchell, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Michael Floyd. Amendola returned to practice on Thursday after missing every practice and game since injuring his ankle in a Week 13 win over the Rams.
Will all five wideouts make the game-day roster when the Patriots host the Divisional Round of the playoffs on Jan. 14? That remains to be seen. In all likelihood, how the Patriots use their wideouts will depend on matchups and the overall health of all five players.
It would be possible that all five would dress, however. They each bring individual skill sets to the table, and in the case of Amendola and Edelman, there is some special-teams value within the position group as well. Activating all five may mean that multiple corners -- perhaps both Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones -- or a back-up/special-teams contributor like Matt Lengel or Geneo Grissom may be forced out of the lineup in order to accomodate all five receivers.
Tom Brady returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out of Wednesday's on-the-field work. Cyrus Jones, who has been dealing with a knee issue since last week, and Alan Branch were not spotted during the media-availability portion of the session.