Gronk is back. After missing the last four games with a rib injury and a punctured lung, Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski will play on Sunday against the Saints.
The Tampa Bay Times’ Joey Knight reported today from Buccaneers practice that the 32-year-old was out there, the first sign that his return may be near. NFL insider Jordan Schultz then confirmed that Gronkowski will give it a go on Halloween at 4:25 on FOX.
The Buccaneers offense hasn’t skipped a beat without Gronkowksi in the lineup, averaging 32.5 points per game over the last four weeks. That’s due in part to Tampa Bay having perhaps the best receiving group in the game: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown.
Tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate haven’t fared as well with Gronkowski out, combining for just 15 receptions for 144 yards and one score. Gronkowksi alone had 16 catches for 184 yards and four touchdowns during the first three games. Quarterback Tom Brady needs his go-to red zone target back, and he’s going to get it just in time for a big time divisional matchup.
The injury bug doesn’t stop with Gronkowski cleared, however, as another key piece will remain out. Brown missed Sunday’s 38-3 win over the Bears with an ankle sprain and was seen at today’s practice with crutches. Head coach Bruce Arians said the sprain is around his heel and they have no timetable for his return.