By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have been on and off the injury report in recent weeks for the Patriots. Wednesday was an "on" day.
Brady, who continues to deal with a knee injury, was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice in Foxboro. Gronkowski, meanwhile, continues to deal with ankle and back injuries that have bothered him as far back as Week 3. The back injury didn't show up on the report until Week 7.
After the back injury cropped up, Gronkowski missed three of the Patriots' next four games. Curiously, Gronkowski was briefly removed from the injury report altogether for most of Week 13, but appeared with the ankle & back on Thursday that week.
Brady's injury seems more like something the team wants to manage during the week. It could be a similar situation to Brady's occasional absences and limited days down the stretch of the 2017 season. Ultimately, it would certainly take something major for Brady not to play.
Gronkowski, on the other hand, should be a bigger concern. He simply hasn't looked like the same player Patriots fans have come to expect this season, and hit rock-bottom with a poor performance against the Vikings last Sunday. Gronkowski caught three of his four targets for just 26 yards, didn't show his usual power in run-blocking, and committed three penalties.
It's possible that Gronkowski has been playing through a more significant injury than his presence on the field may indicate. That and the back injury are still there, despite the fact that he rested four out of five weeks before the past two games.
The Patriots likely just have to manage both players for the rest of the season. The hope is that they can continue to take care of business and earn a first-round bye. And preferably home field.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].