New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski probably won’t be fully healthy when the Patriots take the field against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday night.
Gronkowski admitted to reporters that he isn’t 100 percent and is dealing with a hamstring injury. Gronkowski described the injury as “week-to-week,” according to NFL Network’s Courtney Fallon. He also described it as “a little hammy thing,” according to the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride.
The injury occurred Aug. 15, when Gronkowski took himself out of practice after attempting to catch a pass down the sideline during a joint workout with the Chicago Bears. He hasn’t practiced much since, and was limited during Wednesday’s practice as he continues to recover.
While it appears Gronkowski will suit up Sunday night, there’s a good chance he won’t be at full strength.
All is not lost for New England even if Gronkowski isn’t at his best this weekend. First of all, it’s only Week 1, and the Patriots have a lot more to play for than the season opener against Arizona. Second, New England acquired tight end Martellus Bennett from Chicago during the offseason, partly as insurance in case Gronkowski gets hurt.
Bennett is two years removed from a 90-catch 2014 season and still has plenty left to be a reputable threat in the passing game. Ideally, a fully healthy Gronkowski and Bennett would give New England a potential two-headed monster at tight end, something the Pats haven’t had since Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez dominated the league in 2011.
Of course, Gronkowski’s injury history speaks for itself. So don’t be surprised if the Patriots play it on the safe side with the star tight end. It is a marathon, not a sprint after all.