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Is Rob Gronkowski Really A Game-Time Decision For Patriots - Chiefs?

By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Rob Gronkowski's injured right knee is worse than it seemed. And he has a bad back.

But are the injuries severe enough that we won't see him at all on Saturday?

ESPN's Mike Reiss and Adam Schefter reported Thursday that the superstar Patriots tight end received treatment on his knee at a hospital in Boston. The treatment included an "injection," according to a "source familiar with the procedure."

But then the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported there was no injection.

The Patriots said they believe Gronkowski will play on Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs but also said that they will know more about his status on Saturday before the game.

Then on Thursday the Patriots sent out an updated injury report, noting that in addition to his knee troubles, Gronk is also dealing with a back injury.

Is he really going to be a game-time decision?

Gronk missed Tuesday's practice, but practiced on Monday and was a limited participant on Wednesday. He first sustained a knee injury against the Denver Broncos when he took a helmet hit to the kneecap. It's unconfirmed whether this is related to the same injury, but it almost certainly is.

After missing Week 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Gronk returned to the field against the Houston Texans and dropped off the Patriots injury report. So he either aggravated or re-injured his original injury or suffered a new one, and it's unclear when that could have happened. It could have been anywhere from Week 17's game at Miami to Monday's practice.

The injury would have to be borderline debilitating for Gronk to be inactive in a divisional playoff game. It's hard to believe that's the case when he practiced on Monday and Wednesday. But if and when he does play on Saturday, which should still be the expectation, this report does not bode well for his potential effectiveness.

It's been a strange week for the Patriots, one that hasn't inspired much positivity around the team. But has it been a different story in practice? Will the Patriots come out on fire and extinguish any possible concerns that popped up this week? We'll find out on Saturday.

Matt Dolloff is a writer for His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at

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