When Rob Gronkowski went down Sunday night, New England Patriots fans feared the worst. The reality, however, is that Gronkowski reportedly could be back on the field as early as this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that Gronkowski’s right knee injury is unlikely to cost him more than a game. In fact, according to Rapoport, Gronkowski might not even miss a game because of the knee injury.

Rapoport reported earlier Monday the belief within the organization is Gronkowski suffered no structural damage to his knee and that his time out should be “minimal.”

Not even missing a game — and missing one at the most — certainly could be characterized as “minimal.”

The Patriots can ill afford an injury to someone as valuable as Gronkowski. The team already is without running back Dion Lewis for the season (knee) and Julian Edelman likely until the playoffs (foot), and Danny Amendola’s status is up in the air after missing Sunday’s game with a knee injury.

Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images