Malcolm Mitchell, Rob Ninkovich are beating the odds

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /

It looks like both Malcolm Mitchell and Rob Ninkovich will be playing for the New England Patriots in Week 1.

Somehow, some way, both Malcolm Mitchell and Rob Ninkovich are back at practice as full participants and are set to suit up for Week 1 in the Arizona desert. Since Nink got hurt first, let’s first focus on him.

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In joint practices with the New Orleans Saints at the beginning of the preseason, Nink suffered a painful-sounding triceps tear. He must have gotten his arm stuck in a bad way or something, because it first was reported that Ninkovich would start the year on the PUP and miss at least half the season. But the most durable player in recent Patriots history had other things to say about it.

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Ninkovich is back at practice, and the Patriots are all the better for it. With Jabaal Sheard’s MCL sprain not becoming an issue, and now Nink’s injury subsiding, the Patriots are back at full strength on the edges of the defensive line. They still have Chris Long, Trey Flowers, Barkevious Mingo and Geneo Grissom for depth at outside pass rusher.

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Moving on to Mitchell, this writer was one of the many Patriots fans who cringed when Mitchell suffered a gruesome-looking elbow injury against the Saints. I mean come on, it looked like Mitchell’s arm broke. We all immediately assumed it was a tragic loss of a promising rookie for the season, but Mitchell is back at practice and will most likely start for the Patriots at the “X” spot in Week 1. That’s something else.

Here’s what Mitchell told Patriots Football Weekly’s Eric Scalavino about his approach following the injury:

"I’m not a big fan of hesitating or letting something slow me down. An injury is 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. Yeah, I’m trying to get ready for my next opportunity to go."

Spoken like a true pro. Mitchell is about as ready for the NFL as can be, and the Patriots must be jazzed to have him back at practice getting essential reps in with Jimmy Garoppolo before the start of the regular season.

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It’s going to be great to watch Ninkovich and Mitchell in action in under two weeks after their preseason injury scares.