It looks like the 2013 debut of tight end Rob Gronkowski will not happen in Week One.
Gronkowski has been practicing in a limited fashion with the Patriots this week, but he was listed as doubtful on Friday’s final injury report before Sunday’s game against the Bills. Per league guidelines, that gives him just a 25 percent chance of playing in this weekend’s game and it’s hard to find anyone who is around the Patriots on a daily basis that believes the tight end will be in the lineup against Buffalo.
If Gronkowski can’t play, the Patriots will have Michael Hoomanawanui and undrafted rookie free agent signing Zach Sudfeld at tight end. Sudfeld drew a lot of good reviews for his work this summer and will likely get many chances to make good on them in a game that counts.
Gronkowski’s absence hurts, although it wasn’t unexpected and it won’t be compounded by the absence of wide receiver Danny Amendola. Amendola practiced fully on Friday and is probable for Sunday’s game. The same is true of rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson, who was slowed by a hamstring injury earlier in the week.