Tight end Rob Gronkowski has basically been out of action since Week 3. The future Hall of Famer took a hard shot against the Rams, fracturing a couple ribs and pinching a lung. Gronkowski tried to return against the Saints, but lasted just six snaps before back spasms sidelined him. Now the Bucs are being cautious with his recovery. According to head coach Bruce Arians, the big tight end is doubtful for Sunday’s game against Washington.
“I doubt it,” Arians said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “We think that next week is a better timeframe for him. We kinda pushed it with the New Orleans thing. I want him to go the whole distance when we’re ready to go.”
It sounds like Gronkowski won’t play against Washington, but could be back for the team’s Week 11 game against the Giants on Monday Night Football. Worst case scenario seems to suggest Gronkowski will be back against the Colts in Week 12. It’s clear that Arians is targeting December-January as months to bring several injured players back, trusting Tom Brady and the depth in the meantime.
Still, that’s a lot of missed time for Gronkowski, who was off to a torrid start in 2021. The Bucs top tight end caught 16 passes for 184 yards and 4 touchdowns over the first three games of the season. To help replace Gronkowski, the Bucs signed veteran Darren Fells this week.
“We think in about two or three weeks he’ll be back to normal,” Arians said. “So we got Darren Fells coming in this week. He’s a veteran player who has played good for us in the past. Love where we’re at that way. Gronk is gonna get better, we just wanna make sure he’s good when he comes back.”