FOXBORO, Mass. — It seems like a long time ago that Rob Gronkowski was joking around with the media, saying that he “goes by skinny or looking jacked.
In the three weeks since that media appearance by the tight end, the mood has changed. The laughter was tempered even as Gronkowski said he is tired of answering the same questions, just as reporters are tired of asking them. “Nothing’s changed.” “I’m day to day. Just working hard.”
No one seems to know when Gronkowski will make his season debut. It was expected to be around Week 4, but the Falcons game has come and gone, just as the Bengals and Saints games have too. It seems Gronkowski is not expected for this week against the Jets either, as the tight end says that nothing has changed (he said it three times actually).
“Just improving every week,” Gronkowski said. “That’s all really. Like I said, nothing’s changed, man. Nothing has changed the whole time. The only thing that has changed, actually, is I’m improving every week. And that’s going good.”
Gronkowski was carrying a black practice player of the week jersey when he walked into the locker room. He has apparently shined in practice, which has some people wondering why he can’t be starring in games, as well. But practice is a lot different than a game. There’s no groin or hamstring or knee injury that’s bothering him, so of course he’s going to go out on the practice field and look like his old self — or in the case this week, Jimmy Graham.
It’s reportedly the bone in Gronkowski’s forearm that’s still holding him back. No one wants the tight end back on the game field before that’s fully recovered. Everyone saw what happened against the Texans in the playoffs last season. And no one wants that to happen again.
“It’s basically myself, the doctors and just talking with the coaches,” Gronkowski said when asked who would make the final decision about his availability. “Especially out with Coach Belichick to see how everything’s going. We talk all the time about how everything’s going. Me and him have been on the same page the whole time, ever since the beginning. The decision will be made eventually.”
Because this isn’t a typical injury, there’s no set time table for the recovery. Gronkowski’s back was a surer situation. That would be healed by the time the season started, then Gronkowski would need time to build up physically. But bones are typically mended by this point. The amount of surgeries and infections have complicated matters.
Gronkowski could be back this week, or he could not. He likely doesn’t even know at this point, though we’ll all have a better understanding by Saturday.