|ESPN.com: NFL Playoffs 2011||[Print without images]|
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."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."
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.