Patriots: Will TE Rob Gronkowski Return vs. Texans?


Will the New England Patriots get star tight end Rob Gronkowski back on the field this week against the Houston Texans? Recent reports suggest there is a chance.

After participating in practice on both Thursday and Friday (albeit on a limited basis), New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is officially listed as Questionable for this week. Since Gronkowski went down with his knee injury late in the game against the Denver Broncos, the Patriots have lost back-to-back games. Clearly, the team could use their star tight end back on the field as soon as possible.

Well, it appears that it is at least possible that Gronkowski will be able to suit up on Sunday night against the Houston Texans. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Gronkowski has made the trip to Houston with the Patriots. While he is still listed as Questionable with the knee injury, him making the trip with the team is obviously a good sign.

Now, the guessing game really begins. Just because Gronkowski is making the trip to Houston, does not mean that he is 100% healed and ready to go. He has apparently looked good enough in the practice sessions where the Patriots want to give him a chance, but do not be surprised if he is still held out of competition for one more week.

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The Patriots have lost back-to-back games, and that is never ideal, but they are still sitting good at 10-2. Sure getting Gronkowski back as soon as possible is important, but getting him back at 100% health for the stretch run is more important.

That being said, the injury was never too serious to begin with. It looked bad at the start, but an MRI quickly revealed nothing more than a slight sprain and bone bruise of the knee. It is perfectly reasonable to expect a quick recovery from an injury like that.

If I had to guess, I am going to say that Gronkowski will play for the Patriots on Sunday night. I just cannot imagine they would have brought him along for the trip if there was not a strong chance he would suit up.

Now, this will legitimately be a game-time decision, and Gronkowski will have to prove his health to the Patriots in pre-game warm-ups. Even if he is deemed healthy enough to be active, do not be surprised to see the Patriots bringing him along slowly. A package of plays primarily in the red zone and on third downs for Gronkowski would not surprise me.

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I predict that Gronkowski will find his way on the field against the Texans one way or another, but this really could go either way. Knowing the way Bill Belichick operates, one thing is for sure; we will not know whether Gronkowski is playing or not until the last available minute.