Patriots rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell out 4 weeks after nasty elbow injury

Malcolm Mitchell was on his way to a huge debut in his first preseason game with the New England Patriots before a nasty elbow injury knocked him out of the contest. Mitchell had been thrown five passes and caught four of them for 55 yards, but on the final catch his elbow bent in the wrong direction. It was not pretty to look at.

According to ESPN's Adam Caplan, Mitchell had an MRI on the elbow that came up clean, which means that other than the dislocation, there were no further injuries. (Like a broken bone or torn ligament or tendon.)

Caplan's colleague Mike Reiss later reported that the Pats are hoping Mitchell can return in around four weeks, which would put his timeline right around the start of the regular season. (The first Sunday of the regular season is exactly four weeks from the day this post is being written.)

The Pats already suited up without their top four passing game targets from last season (Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis), and now they'll be without a depth weapon for a while. They still have Martellus Bennett and Chris Hogan to pick up some of the slack, but they'll undoubtedly want to get their top guys back on the field at some point to help out Jimmy Garoppolo, who will start the first four games of the year for the suspended Tom Brady.

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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