Special shoe for Rob Gronkowski?
INDIANAPOLIS -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said Wednesday that the team is looking into a specialized cleat he could wear in Super Bowl XLVI to make it easier for him to play despite a high left ankle sprain.
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"I think we're going over that tonight, so we will see with the training staff," Gronkowski said.
Gronkowski didn't practice on Wednesday. He was the only player who did not participate.
"We had our moments -- some good ones and some things we've got to work on," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said afterward. "They're trying. They're working hard. We've got a ways to go though.
"We've had a little bit of extra time to prepare so we hit all the areas. I thought we had good tempo and good timing. We'll back down a little bit the next couple of days."
Tuesday was Gronkowski's first day without a walking boot since injuring the ankle Jan. 22 in the AFC Championship Game.
"Rob is doing better, so we'll just have to see where he is today," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "I think he's making improvement, getting better every day. We'll just take it day to day."
It is widely assumed that Gronkowski will play Sunday night. The bigger question figures to be the degree of his effectiveness, and even he acknowledged he's not sure how his time away from the practice field would affect him.
"I'm just staying at weight and doing what I possibly can do to stay in shape," he said.
Gronkowski, who was selected to the Pro Bowl after finishing with 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and a tight-end record 17 touchdowns in the regular season, repeated multiple times that he was adopting a short-term focus. He didn't want to forecast how his ankle would feel by Sunday night.
"I don't know yet, we're going day to day," he said Tuesday. "We're making new steps every day and feeling better every single day. You just want to keep going in the right direction. I want to be out there with the team, obviously."
In other injury news, Patriots tackle Matt Light was back in action after missing media day due to an illness and completed a full practice.
"I'm doing well," he said earlier Wednesday.
Fellow tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who also missed media day because of illness, practiced on a limited basis. He's been out since suffering a foot injury Nov. 27.
"He did a little bit today," Belichick said. "We'll see how he does tomorrow."
Vollmer assessed his chances of playing in the Super Bowl.
"I feel all right. I was under the weather for a little while, but I think it's clearing up now," Vollmer said of his recent illness. "Physically, I started practicing again, I think it went well. If I'm ready to play or not, Bill [Belichick] and the medical staff make the decision."
Vollmer missed five of the first six games of the season with a back injury, which lingered even as he tried to rehabilitate his more recent foot ailment.
"It's hard to deal with. You feel like you beat something, and then you want to get out there. You play a few games. You're obviously on a good team, you see there's a chance of going somewhere," Vollmer said of the two injuries. "I think just dealing with injuries is hard for any player. But just missing time, and just trying to get better. It's tough sometimes."
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.
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