Patriots' Chris Hogan cleared to play after shoulder injury

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots starting wide receiver Chris Hogan, who had missed seven of the final eight games of the regular season with a shoulder injury, has been cleared to play in Saturday's AFC divisional-round playoff game against the Tennessee Titans.

Hogan was officially removed from the team's injury report Thursday for the first time since injuring his shoulder in an Oct. 29 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

His return should shake up the Patriots' depth chart, as he was paired with Brandin Cooks as the team's top two receivers when through the first half of the season. In his absence, the Patriots had been using a combination of Phillip Dorsett and Danny Amendola alongside Cooks, with newcomer Kenny Britt also rotating into the mix sparingly.

Hogan had been off to a strong start this season, catching 33 passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns over the first eight games. After missing four straight games, he returned to action in a Dec. 11 loss to the Miami Dolphins, but struggled as both a pass catcher (one reception on five targets) and blocker.

He was then inactive for the final three regular-season games, and with the Patriots earning a bye, he has had an additional month to recover and gain a greater comfort level to make a return.

Elsewhere on the Patriots' injury report, No. 3 defensive tackle Alan Branch (knee), running back Rex Burkhead (knee), linebacker Marquis Flowers (illness), running back Mike Gillislee (knee), defensive end Eric Lee (ankle/finger) and top "passing back" James White (ankle) are all listed as questionable. Branch and White said they feel ready to go, while Burkhead had hinted he was in the same category. Flowers and Lee are also expected to be ready for action.