Rob Gronkowski did not participate in Patriots practice Thursday


Rob Gronkowski did not practice with the Patriots on Thursday, listed on the injury report with ankle and back injuries. 

Gronk has been struggling with various ailments all year, but to date has only missed one game. Unfortunately, not practicing the Thursday before a game isn't a great sign for the big tight end. 

The offense was still able to march up and down the field without Gronk in their matchup against the Bears, but the Packers are a different animal. While their defense may not match the Bears', they do have a guy named Aaron Rodgers who can make up for any deficiencies on the other side of the ball. 

It's all hands on deck for what may end up to be a shootout in Foxboro on Sunday, but the Patriots are used to playing the long game with Gronk. Everyone, from fans to teammates, would rather have him healthy come playoff time than have him play a Week 9 game, no matter who the opponent is. 

It may be up to Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and the rest of the Patriots' supporting cast to step up in Gronk's absence and try to come out with a win this week. 

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