Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski popped up on the team’s final injury report before facing the Buccaneers as a limited participant in practice due to a thigh injury.
Gronkowski was listed as questionable to play on Thursday night as a result of that development, but signs are pointing to him being in the lineup. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported on Wednesday evening that Gronkowski was on the team’s flight to Tampa and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports on Thursday morning that the tight end is expected to play.
Rapoport adds that Gronkowski “figures to be limited” because of the injury, which makes sense but may not wind up limiting the Patriots offense a tremendous amount. If he’s on the field, the Buccaneers will have to devote resources to stopping him and those are players that can’t be used against the rest of New England’s targets.
That group will be without running back Rex Burkhead again this week, but is otherwise at full strength for the first game of Week Five.