Earlier this week I told a half lie, which is only half as bad as a full lie. Relaying the latest report on Rob Gronkowski’s ankle, the post in question was titled “Don’t worry, Rob Gronkowski is fine.” He still is fine, at least in the sense that the danger of him missing the Super Bowl is very minimal.
But now as more information begins to trickle out as it always does with Super Bowl injuries, we’re learning the extent of Gronk’s ankle ailment, and while the latest word certainly isn’t crippling, it’s not promising either. It’s somewhere in the vast, vague wasteland in between.
Father always knows best, and Gordy Gronkowski, the man of the Gronk household, told WIVB that his son has a high-ankle sprain. He made those comments Wednesday, but they’re just surfacing now through Tom Curran of CSN New England.
This isn’t surprising news, or at least it shouldn’t be. When he was tackled by Bernard Pollard in the third quarter of last Sunday’s AFC Championship game, Gronkowski’s ankle bent in a direction that ankles were not designed to bend, and after the game he was hobbling around in a walking boot. He wasn’t on the field for New England’s first practice yesterday to prepare for their Super Bowl showdown against the Giants, and he’ll likely either sit out entirely or be a limited participant and nurse the injury until testing it next week as the regular game-week practice schedule picks up.
Gronkowski being inactive for the Super Bowl still remains unlikely. However, now that we know the nature of his injury, we have a little bit more ammunition during our week of speculation, and I’m still pegging the over/under on Gronkowski name drops in this space before Feb. 5 at around 42.
While he can easily play through a high-ankle sprain, it’s an injury that’s been notoriously cumbersome depending on the severity. Late in the season we watched as Ben Roethlisberger played through his own high-ankle injury, and he was wildly ineffective and clearly restricted. Roethlisberger threw three interceptions and had two fumbles (one lost) during a 20-3 drubbing on the road against San Francisco in Week 15, and his passer rating was a season-low 52.3.
Although his father says Gronkowski will be fine, and Bill Belichick is saying nothing and will continue to say nothing, what’s troubling for the Patriots is that Roethlisberger didn’t even have a Grade 3 sprain, the most severe variety.
Gronk will play, but he might not quite be Gronk. The solution and remedy? More nurses. Many, many more nurses.