FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots’ most dangerous offensive weapon was back on the practice field Thursday.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action after sitting out Sunday’s game and Wednesday’s practice with a back injury.
Gronkowski, whose status for Monday night’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills currently is unclear, appeared to be a full participant during the few positional drills reporters were permitted to watch. He could be seen firing out of a three-point stance to hit blocking pads and absorbing blows from team staffers during a ball security drill.
The Boston Globe’s Jim McBride reported Wednesday, citing a source, that Gronkowski has “a shot” to play against the Bills, whom he torched for nine catches and 147 yards in last year’s visit to western New York.
Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (concussion) and defensive end Deatrich Wise (ankle/knee) also returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday. Running back Sony Michel (knee) and cornerback Eric Rowe (groin) remained sidelined.
Offensive lineman Brian Schwenke was absent, as well. Schwenke has not appeared on any recent injury reports, and given his status as an end-of-the-roster player (he was a healthy scratch in Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears), there’s a chance he could have been traded or released. No such move has been reported, however.
If the Patriots plan to promote running back Kenneth Farrow from the practice squad or sign a free agent back in the wake of Michel’s injury, they’d need to clear a spot for him on the 53-man roster.