It's practice, but it's a promising sign to see Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on the gridiron.
His return comes one day after he was listed as "out" on New England's injury report, meaning he wouldn't have played if the Patriots had a game tomorrow. With the Super Bowl against the Eagles not taking place until February 4, Gronkowski still has more than a week to clear the NFL's concussion protocol and shed his current designation.
Defensive lineman Deatrich Wise (concussion) and Malcolm Brown (foot) also did not participate in Thursday's practice.
After missing parts of practice leading up to the AFC championship, he started in the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and led New England to a 24-20 victory.
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The Patriots had remained tight-lipped on keeping Gronkowski's progress a mystery. "It's just a great attribute of his; it always has been since he got here". "So it obviously hurts when he's not out there for a lot of reasons, but he's doing the best he can do and we're all hopeful".
The team is not required to release another injury report until Wednesday.
"Gronkowski's presence Saturday represents an important step toward his potential return to the starting lineup for Super Bowl LII. It was a tough call, but you have to go with what they call".