The New England Patriots confirmed on their injury report Wednesday that tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a concussion during Sunday’s AFC championship game win over the Jaguars.
Gronkowski was drilled by Jacksonville safety Barry Church on a pass over the middle late in the first half. He left the game and did not return.
The All-Pro tight end is currently in the league’s concussion protocol. A reporter asked Patriots coach Bill Belichick if he’ll be available for the Super Bowl and got the coach’s typical non-response.
— NESN (@NESN) January 24, 2018
“Can you give us an update on Rob Gronkowski? Has he finished his concussion protocol and do you expect him to play?” the reporter asked.
“Yeah, we’ll be compliant with the NFL injury report and when that’s required, we’ll put it on,” Belichick answered in his usualy monotone manner.
“When is that process completed, finished?” pressed the reporter.
“When’s what process finished?” asked Belichick.
“The concussion report,” fired back the reporter, stating the obvious.
“Whatever his situation is, whatever his status is, we’ll put it on the injury report. We’ll make sure you’re the first one to get it,” Belichick said.
“I’m sure you will,” the reporter answered, dripping with sarcasm.
“Yeah, not a problem,” Belichick mumbled.
Then the direct question: “Do you expect him to play?”
WATCH: Recapping a rare, lively Bill Belichick press conference to open up Super Bowl LII preparations. The coach is pressed on the #Patriots inability to score in the first quarter of Super Bowls, and Rob Gronkowski's concussion and game status.@ABC6 pic.twitter.com/u4Hzvv4OsT
— Ian Steele (@ISteeleABC6) January 25, 2018
“Thank you, I appreciate it,” the reporter said.
“Don’t want to hold anyone back here,” Belichick added. “We’ll get that out there.”
“I know, I know you don’t,” the reporter responded, with a heavy dose of sarcasm.
“That’s all we can do,” said Belichick, getting the last word in.
While Belichick likely knew more about Gronk’s status than he was willing to reveal, it’s also possible the coach truly has no idea of his tight end’s status for next week’s game.
Once a player has been diagnosed with a concussion, there are five stages to clearing him for a return to action — a rest and recovery phase until any obvious concussion symptoms disappear, light aerobic exercise to make sure symptoms don’t return, strength training to again make sure symptoms don’t return, the ability to get through a full practice, and finally being cleared to participate in a game.
There’s no timetable for a player to get through those phases. Some can do it in less than a week, others require months. It all depends on the severity of the concussion.
Obviously, Gronkowski’s status is a huge story line for next week’s Super Bowl against the Eagles. And until more is known about the progress he’s making, you can expect Belichick to try his best to not answer more questions from the media in Minnesota next week.
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