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Posted at 01:39 PM ET, 01/26/2012

Rob Gronkowski to skip practice with ankle injury; will he be ready for Super Bowl?


Gronk could be an X-factor in the Super Bowl — assuming he’s fully recovered from his left ankle injury. (Jessica Rinaldi - Reuters)
New England Patriots tight end and master of the art of spiking Rob Gronkowski will not practice on Thursday when the team holds its first practice since its AFC championship triumph.

Knowing the injury reporting habits of notoriously tight-lipped coach Bill Belichick, you’re are free to interpret this news as you wish.

Gronkowski — who set an NFL tight end record with 17 touchdown receptions this season — limped off the field in the third quarter on Sunday’s win over Baltimore with a left ankle injury. He returned to the field about five minutes later but did not catch a pass the rest of the game.

Will Gronkowski be ready to take the field against the New York Giants in the Super Bowl?

When asked how his All-Pro tight end was progressing, the never loquacious Belichick replied, “good, good.”

So, Bill, will Gronk play in the Super Bowl if he doesn’t practice between now and then?

“We’ll just have to see, you know,” Belichick said. “He’s not going to practice today, so take it day by day. I’m not going to try to forecast where things will be 10 days from now. We’ll just take it day by day.”

The Patriots could certainly use Gronkowski’s pass-catching prowess to give quarterback Tom Brady his full set of weapons as he faces New York’s dominant pass rush. Gronkowski has been both a safety valve and big-play producer all season, and he leads the team with 15 receptions for 232 yards and three touchdowns in two playoff games.

If Gronkowski made it back into Sunday’s game against Baltimore, it’s hard to see him missing the Super Bowl with more than a full week left for recovery. But New England is taking precautions nevertheless. On Thursday the team signed tight end Carson Butler to join Garrett Mills on its practice squad. Aaron Hernandez is the only other tight end on the team’s current roster.

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By  |  01:39 PM ET, 01/26/2012

 
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