Bucs Make Final Decision on Rob Gronkowski, Injured Players

Rob Gronkowski

Getty Rob Gronkowski looks on during the Buccaneers' Week 1 game vs. Dallas.

Though Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski said he’s feeling great as of this week, the team won’t play the injured star against Miami.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians confirmed that Gronkowski won’t play on Sunday — the same for safety Anotoine Winfield Jr. and defensive end Patrick O’Connor — according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. Gronkowski endured rib and lung injuries in Week 3, Winfield sustained a concussion at New England, and O’Connor injured his calf this week.

Gronkowski missed the Week 4 game against his old team and didn’t travel to the northeast with the Bucs. He told CBS Sports earlier in the week that he’s taking things “week by week” and the Bucs didn’t put him on injured reserve. He didn’t practice all week though as indicated on the injury report.

A brutal hit by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Terrell Lewis knocked Gronkowski out of the Bucs’ Week 3 game. Gronkowski returned to the field later but had his ribs X-rayed after the game, which came out negative according to Arians.

Playing against the Patriots looked promising for Gronkowski early on, but things didn’t improve as he didn’t practice that week according to the Bucs’ Week 4 injury report. After the Bucs confirmed Gronkowski wouldn’t play against the Patriots, news broke on Gronkowski’s injuries being worse than initially thought.

Fox’s Jay Glazer reported on Sunday that Gronkowski told him that he sustained “four cracked ribs, one broken rib, and a punctured lung” in the collision.

Gronkowski made some progress this week by “riding a stationary bike”, Arians said via ESPN’s Jenna Laine.

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady will have tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate to target. Howard, who has been working his way back from an Achilles injury, has two catches for 32 yards this season. Brate, who stepped up last season in Howard’s absence, has seven receptions for 72 yards so far.

Gronkowski had a strong season going with four touchdowns in the first two games plus 16 receptions for 184 yards overall. The injury-riddled star played a full season in 2020 but hadn’t played a full schedule since 2011 before that.

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Questionable Players Look Good for Bucs

The Bucs have three players listed as questionable on the report — running back Giovani Bernard, cornerback Jamel Dean, and linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul. Arians, during this press conference on Friday, alluded to all three being ready to play on Sunday against the Dolphins. He said Bernard and Dean are “fine” and that Pierre-Paul is “ready to roll” for Sunday.

Arians also affirmed that using a club for an injured hand won’t slow down Pierre-Paul.

“Yeah, he did it for a couple years. So, protect the finger, and the shoulder looked pretty good,” Arians said.

The Dolphins only have one player listed as questionable — wide receiver DeVante Parker. Miami’s defensive secondary looks healed up as Auman noted.

Arians Gives Update on Carlton Davis III

Arians told the media on Friday that he has “no idea” if cornerback Carlton Davis III will need surgery after injuring a quadricep at New England.

The Bucs put Davis on injured reserve on Thursday, which means Davis will miss at least three games. Cornerback Pierre Desir, who stepped in for Davis last week, anticipates playing a role on Sunday despite Dean’s return.

“I feel a lot better, just being out there with the guys,” Desir told the media on Friday. “I think a lot of it is just being able to feel how they see things and feeling the tempo of the team. Just getting that win under the belt definitely helped, as well. Just a lot more confident going out there and understanding what I need to do and then having another week of practice definitely helps.”

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