FOXBORO, Mass. — If there’s been a highlight during this NFL preseason more graphic than Malcolm Mitchell’s injury, we don’t want to see it.
Mitchell’s dislocated elbow knocked him out of the New England Patriots’ first preseason game and prevented him from playing in the following two, and good luck watching a replay of the injury without wincing, squinting or turning away from the screen altogether.
But while Mitchell understands why that video might give some viewers the willies, he doesn’t have any problem watching it himself.
“Actually, I’m not weak-stomached or anything like that,” the Patriots rookie wide receiver said Tuesday. “It was fine. I watched — there was this show on TV that used to show all these bad videos like that — so I was pretty OK with it.”
Having avoided a season-threatening injury on the play (he’s expected back early in the regular season, if not in time for Week 1), Mitchell is applying that same mindset to his rehab. Nothing he does now can change what happened, his line of thinking goes, so dwelling on the injury wouldn’t do him nor the Patriots any good.
“This is a sport where injuries happen all the time,” he said. “You’re almost 100 percent guaranteed for it to happen in some form, (whether) it’s a major surgery or, I don’t know, a sprained ankle. Something’s going to happen eventually. So, you just take it, and you have to deal with it. …
“Of course, I would like to have all that time that I’m taking off to heal the elbow to continue to get better, since I am new to the team and new to the league. But once it’s done, it’s done. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
Mitchell’s road to recovery began almost immediately. He was back on the practice field just four days after the injury, wearing an elbow brace similar to the one tight end Rob Gronkowski has sported for the last few seasons.
“Just protection while it heals, that’s it,” Mitchell said. “Making sure I don’t recreate that injury.”
The fourth-round draft pick has been limited in practice since his injury, and it remains unclear when he’ll be healthy enough to return to full participation. But despite his current limitations, he insists he has not altered his approach to the game.
“I don’t have much time for (hesitation),” Mitchell said. “I’m not a big fan of hesitating or letting something slow me down. An injury’s an injury — you just deal with it. I think it’s worse if you think about it too much. Obviously, you have to be smart about it, but at some point, you’ve just got to let it go and just play.”
He added: “I try to be smart. That’s the best way I can put it. To get frustrated over something I had no control over would be stressful, and that’s unnecessary stress that is not going to help me. It could only hurt me.”
UPDATE (4:05 p.m. ET): Mitchell took another positive step in his recovery Tuesday.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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