Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed the team’s first practice for the game Thursday with a left ankle injury. Four years earlier, quarterback Tom Brady skipped practice for a week before the game with an injured right ankle.
“It’s the Super Bowl, so we’re all trying to get out there and be healthy,” Brady said Thursday. “You put all the work in over the course of the entire year and have the opportunity to play in this game. Everyone’s going to be doing everything they can to be out there.”
The Patriots have given no details on the extent of Gronkowski’s injury and he was not available during the period when reporters had locker room access. But with more than a week before the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, there’s no need to rush him back.
He returned to last Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter, about five minutes after being helped off the field and going to the locker room with a slight limp. He was hurt in the final minute of the third quarter after catching a 23-yard pass from Brady.
After the victory, Gronkowski remained on the field, raised over his head the Lamar Hunt Trophy that goes to the AFC champions and yelled in celebration as fans cheered.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Hernandez said. “He’s full of excitement, never in a bad mood, always happy. So I’m pretty sure he’s still happy.”
Coach Bill Belichick, typically, was less revealing.
Asked how Gronkowski was progressing, he said, “good, good.”
“We’ll just have to see, you know,” Belichick said. “He’s not going to practice today, so take it day by day. I’m not going to try to forecast where things will be 10 days from now. We’ll just take it day by day.”
But what if the powerful pass catcher can’t play against the Giants?