All week long, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was limited in practice due to an ankle issue. On Friday another ailment was added: according to the Patriots’ practice report, the 29-year old is now also dealing with a back injury. As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports, Gronkowski’s back “locked up” during Friday’s practice.
As a result of hurting his back, Gronkowski is not expected to play against the Chicago Bears today: even though he was initially listed as “questionable”, the Patriots downgraded him to “doubtful” after he did not take the trip west with his teammates. However, if Rapoport is to be believed, the NFL’s best tight end is not dealing with a long-term issue, nor with one that will keep him out much longer than today’s game: according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Gronkowski is expected to return next week.
This, of course, is good news for New England not just because Gronkowski is the team’s best offensive skill position player. Over the course of his career, he has dealt with multiple back injuries and had surgery three times (2009, 2013, 2016). In 2016, the Patriots were forced to place Gronkowski on season-ending injured reserve after he hurt his back in late December. His latest issue not being a long-term concern would therefore be ideal news considering the circumstances.
Rapoport also shared other injury updates this morning. According to the NFL Network reporter, three of the Patriots listed as “questionable” on Friday’s injury report will be good to go today: running baxk Sony Michel and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon will both play today against the Bears. Furthermore, Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack will also be good to go.