The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ruled out tight end Rob Gronkowski for Thursday night’s game due to cracked ribs and a punctured lung sustained in Week 3, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz reports.
Gronkowski is making “steady progress” from his injuries but isn’t ready to play, Schultz reports.
The team said Tuesday that Gronkowski did not participate in practice that day or Monday. The team will provide an official Week 6 injury designation for Gronkowski at the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice.
Sep 26, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) can’t hang on to a pass in the end zone in the third quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
Gronkowski has missed some time since suffering multiple fractured ribs. His initial X-rays came back clean but a follow-up MRI did not, as OutKick previously reported.
Gronkowski has appeared in three games for the Buccaneers this season and has caught 16 passes for 184 yards receiving and four touchdowns before the injury in Tampa Bay’s 34-24 loss to the Rams in Week 3. Gronkowski took a direct shot to his ribs and headed to the locker room to be examined. He returned during the third quarter but was clearly in pain.
The veteran tight end did not travel with the team to Foxborough to face the New England Patriots as he was recovering from four cracked ribs, a broken rib and a punctured lung, OutKick previously reported.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) after Gronkowski caught a 2-yard touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette) (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
The Buccaneers’ 19-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 4 drew 28.5 million viewers across all platforms, the second-most watched NBC Sunday Night Football game of all time.
As Tampa Bay prepares to face the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6, the Buccaneers will likely look to O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate to split reps at tight end. The Buccaneers and Eagles will face off on Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 p.m.
Sep 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) looks on against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
The Buccaneers are a healthy seven-point favorite against the Eagles per FanDuel Sportsbook even with a hobbled group of players. Despite the injuries, the Buccaneers still have Tom Brady and riches at the skill positions, meaning that they should come away with a W over a 2-3 Philadelphia team that has been inconsistent this season.