Rob Gronkowski will play Sunday vs. Jets after missing TNF

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The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe is reporting that Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski will definitely play this Sunday against the New York Jets after missing the team's last game with a thigh contusion.

Gronkowski was a late addition to the injury report for Thursday Night Football against the Buccaneers, with many expecting him to play in that game until he was scratched just hours before kickoff. The listed cause was a thigh contusion, which Howe says he suffered from a leg whip versus the Panthers. While it seemed at the time like a minor injury New England was being overcautious about, apparently it was far more serious:

Gronkowski’s thigh contusion made it difficult to move, let alone play in a game, so the Patriots kept him out. The main reason was that they didn’t want him to take another shot to the leg and worsen the injury, as the most serious thigh contusions can keep a player out for weeks or even months. That obviously wasn’t a risk worth taking.

Howe is 100% right that the team made the correct choice. There was no reason to risk Gronkowski's long-term health in a game that was winnable without him on the field. And while it's certainly peculiar that the tight end was participating in practice with an injury that made it difficult to move his leg at all, Howe pointed out that symptoms of contusions often worsen a few days after the initial injury. As his condition deteriorated, the Pats decided to play it safe rather than put their star out on the field below full strength.

After an extra 10 days of rest, Gronk will be ready to go against the Jets. Tom Brady will certainly appreciate having his favorite target back: backups Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister were only targeted once combined in Tampa Bay.

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