Rob Gronkowski “will be very, very close” to playing on Thursday night

Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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When it finally was disclosed that Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski had suffered multiple fractured ribs and a punctured lung against the Rams in Week Three, it was reported that Gronk could be out “weeks.”

Technically, that’s true. The grand total may be two.

Gronk missed Week Four at New England and Week Five vs. the Dolphins. He could be back for the short-week Thursday night game against the Eagles.

“It will be very, very close this week,” coach Bruce Arians told reporters on Monday. “We will wait and see.”

Quarterback Tom Brady missed Gronk again the Pats, particularly in the red zone. On Sunday against the Dolphins, nine different players caught passes and Brady had more than 400 passing yards and five touchdowns.

The Bucs should be able to beat the Eagles without Gronk. It would make sense to give him the mini-bye on the back end. It’s far better to have him at or close to 100 percent as the Bucs get deeper into the season.