Rob Gronkowski misses practice
INDIANAPOLIS -- Injured New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski did not practice Monday, according to head coach Bill Belichick, marking the third straight practice he's missed since suffering a left high ankle sprain in the AFC Championship Game.
On Sunday, when Gronkowski was spotted wearing a boot on his left foot while getting off the team's charter flight to Indianapolis, Belichick referred to his status as "day to day."
Gronkowski has dominated headlines at Super Bowl XLVI, in part because of his importance to the Patriots' offense. He totaled 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and a tight-end record 17 touchdowns in the regular season and at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds is a dominant presence in the red zone. He started all 16 games and seldom, if ever, comes off the field.
Considering the Patriots don't have a backup for Gronkowski on the roster and that they run more than 80 percent of their snaps with two or more tight ends on the field, it's no wonder his status is being monitored so closely.
Gronkowski's high ankle sprain isn't the only pressing health-related issue for the Patriots, as starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer has missed the last seven games with both foot and ankle injuries. Belichick said it's a possibility that Vollmer (6-8, 315) could suit up in Super Bowl XLVI, revealing that he had a cast removed prior to the Jan. 14 divisional-round playoff game against the Denver Broncos.
"I'd say it's a possibility. Sebastian has gotten a lot better here over the last few weeks," Belichick said. "He practiced last week before the Baltimore game and I'd say it was close, but obviously wasn't ready to go and we didn't activate him. This week, he's further along than what he was before the Denver game.
"He practiced [Monday] so we'll see how the week goes and see how he holds up, but I think there is definitely a possibility. We'll just have to see how he tolerates the added work and if he does well, I think you'll see him. If not, then it will be where it was in Baltimore. I don't really know if we'll know that until we put him through the full week of practice but he's definitely making progress. So he's getting there."
Vollmer has played in just six games this season, with five starts. He started at right tackle in the Nov. 6 meeting between the Patriots and Giants -- a 24-20 Giants win -- which allowed the Patriots to use rookie offensive tackle Nate Solder as a tight end on 23 of 78 snaps.
The Patriots practiced in full pads at the Indianapolis Colts' indoor facility on Monday. The team was also in full pads last Friday.
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.
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