Rob Gronkowski hasn't practiced this week (ribs) with Patriots showdown looming

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Rob Gronkowski briefly left last Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Rams after a big hit from linebacker Terrell Lewis.

He returned to the game, but appears to still be suffering from the blow to his rib cage. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end hasn't practiced this week leading up to Sunday's showdown against the New England Patriots. He missed practice on Wednesday, and the Bucs listed him as "did not participate" again on Thursday with a rib injury. 

While the focus on Sunday's game is quarterback Tom Brady's return to Gillette Stadium to square off with former coach Bill Belichick, Gronkowski's first game against the team he helped to three Super Bowl wins as Brady's favorite target is highly anticipated. The Bucs didn't addressed Gronkowski's status for Sunday beyond Thursday's injury report.

Last week's hit took place after Gronkowski caught a pass from Brady in the middle of the field. Lewis landed a direct blow to his rib cage and planted him to the turf. 

Gronk left the field in obvious pain and was examined in a sideline medical tent and eventually the locker room. He eventually returned to the game. After the game, head coach Bruce Arians told reporters that X-rays on Gronkowki's ribs did not reveal a fracture

For what it's worth, Gronkowski was in his usual good spirits in a Twitter video promoting Sunday's game that he posted after missing practice on Thursday.

Stay tuned for Bucs updates on his status for Sunday's game. 

The Bucs did get some good news on the injury front on Thursday. Wide receiver Antonio Brown has been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list and is expected to play on Sunday. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski walks on the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski walks on the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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