New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski has been expected to play in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ever since reports in August stated that the timetable for Gronkowski’s return would be in late September at around Week 3. Reports early in the regular season stated that there was even a slim possibility that he could play in Week 2 against the New York Jets and while those were far-fetched, they did serve to show that Gronkowski was progressing well from offseason arm and back surgeries.
We have heard nothing but good reports regarding Gronkowski’s recovery, and I never changed my projection for Gronk to play in Week 3 as a result. Earlier today, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that Rob Gronkowski is 50/50 to play against the Buccaneers. Now, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports that Rob Gronkowski “remains closer to doubtful” to play against the Bucs, so he has more of a 25/75 chance of playing than 50/50.
If true, then that’s definitely not good news, but I wonder if the dynamic here is the fact that the Patriots would rather have Gronkowski absolutely fully healthy for the big Week 4 game against the Atlanta Falcons. But because of the way the rookie receivers have struggled initially, the injury to Danny Amendola, and the fact that all wins are important, I think we’ll see Gronkowski play on Sunday in a limited role in order for him to ease into things. It’s almost impossible to predict injuries when the Patriots are involved, and PFT’s report is a discouraging one. I highly doubt Gronk is out past Week 4, and I believe that Florio’s report just might mean that the Patriots want to give Gronk another week of rest; we haven’t heard anything stating that he isn’t ready, but you never know when the Patriots are involved.