The New England Patriots could be looking to ease tight end Rob Gronkowski back into action before the playoffs begin. According to a report from ESPN's Mike Reiss, Gronkowski has seen an increased workload in practice this week, a workload typical of a player preparing to play in a game:
Over the past two days, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski increased his practice participation to a level at which he would play during a normal week, according to a source familiar with how the team's practice repetitions were divided.
This strengthens the possibility that he could suit up in the regular-season finale Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, the source said. One possibility to keep in mind, however, is if coach Bill Belichick alters his approach with personnel based on playoff interests, such as limiting the action of some players so they're at their best whenever the Patriots do play in the playoffs.
This is obviously still a wait and see situation, but it would be nice to see Gronkowski get some game reps in before the playoffs begin. Of course, Gronkowski shouldn't be hurried back. So assuming the risk of re-injury is minimal, I think getting him back against the Dolphins would be a good thing for New England.
Gronkowski is officially listed as questionable on the Patriots' injury report.