Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski only suffered a bruised knee, not a major injury, during Sunday night’s loss to the Denver Broncos, according to multiple published sources.
ESPN’s Dianna Marie Russini tweeted that Gronkowski’s injury was “being described as more of a bruise of the knee than a tear,” and the All-Pro tight end is being listed as week-to-week.
Patriots players, coaches and fans all feared a much worse outcome when Gronkowski fell to the turf in obvious agony after failing to haul in a fourth-quarter pass. He was eventually able to hobble to the cart, and left the stadium walking on his own, although still in pain.
With Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola already sidelined by injuries, the Patriots had to finish Sunday night’s game without the receivers who had caught 20 of Tom Brady’s 28 touchdown passes this season. Tight end Scott Chandler (3) and wide receiver Keshawn Martin (1) are the only healthy receivers that have scored this season, with the other four touchdown passes going to running backs Brandon Bolden (2), LeGarrette Blount (1) and James White (1).
Even with Gronkowski’s injury being less severe than originally feared, there is a good chance that he will miss Sunday’s game against Philadelphia. Amendola is also trying to return from a knee injury that caused him to sit out the Broncos game, while Lewis is out for the season with a torn ACL and Edelman will be sidelined indefinitely with a broken foot.
That leaves most of the load on Chandler, Martin, Bolden and Brandon LaFell, a deep threat who has only caught 21 of the 47 passes thrown his way this season. The Patriots could also try to use a more traditional running game, as Blount is averaging 4.2 yards a carry this season with six touchdowns.