Patriots fans held their collective breath last Sunday when Rob Gronkowski went to the ground after being hit in the helmet by Jacksonville’s Barry Church just before halftime of the AFC championship game.
The All-Pro tight end staggered before heading to the locker room, never to be seen again — until Saturday, that is.
The Boston Globe’s Jim McBride reported that the big fella went through a full practice with the team and appeared to be fine, stretching, running and catching as he normally would.
Video evidence of Gronkowski’s return to practice soon surfaced.
Return of the Gronk. pic.twitter.com/BCLBKgQBHj
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 27, 2018
Big news today: Rob Gronkowski is back at practice. Deatrich Wise is back too. Malcom Brown the only Patriot missing. pic.twitter.com/u43bwk431q
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) January 27, 2018
On Friday, the Patriots briefly set the social media world abuzz by listing Gronkowski as “out” on the official injury report.
What New England meant to say was that he’d be out if the Super Bowl were played this weekend.
Despite his participation Saturday, however, Gronkowski is still in the league’s concussion protocol.
While he is present at the start of practice, Rob Gronkowski is still in the concussion protocol, per the club. This is another step in his progression through the protocol.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 27, 2018
On Saturday, the NFL fined Church $24,309 for his hit on Gronkowski.
Ironically, the injury-plagued tight end is coming off one of his healthiest seasons, playing 14 games for the defending champions, and missing one game due to suspension for delivering a late hit to the head of Bills rookie Tre’Davious White.
The 28-year-old pulled in 69 catches with eight touchdowns.
Gronkowski hasn’t played a complete 16-game season since 2011.
Good to hve him back. Can't wait for him to spike on Eagles!!!
— Pats4Life (@TB12BBGoat) January 27, 2018
It doesn’t take a medical degree to make the assumption that if Gronkowski can practice Saturday and leaves with the team for Minnesota on Sunday, it’s likely he’ll be cleared in time for the Super Bowl.
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