FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots placed second-year wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, whose emergence in the second half of Super Bowl LI reflected his value to the team, on injured reserve Thursday.
Because Mitchell was placed on injured reserve after the initial cut-down to 53 players, he is eligible to be a short-term IR candidate. That means he could potentially return this season.
Players on short-term IR can't practice for the first six weeks of the regular season and can't return to a game until Week 9.
Mitchell -- who caught five passes for 63 yards after halftime of the Patriots' overtime victory in the Super Bowl -- has been dealing with a knee issue since spring. The 2016 fourth-round pick out of Georgia was projected as the third or fourth receiver on the depth chart behind Chris Hogan and Brandin Cooks, and alongside Danny Amendola.
The team held Mitchell out of all spring practices and brought him along slowly in training camp. He played in the team's second preseason game, but didn't appear to be 100 percent and ended up missing a stretch of practices after that game.
Questions about Mitchell's availability -- and the loss of Julian Edelman to a season-ending knee injury -- contributed to the team's pursuit of wide receiver Phillip Dorsett in last Saturday's trade with the Indianapolis Colts. Dorsett was a first-round pick (29th overall) in 2015. He was active for Thursday night's opener against the Chiefs.
To fill Mitchell's roster spot, the Patriots promoted center/guard Ted Karras from the practice squad.